Weekend Box Office Forecast: Spider-Man: No Way Home Targets 4th #1 Crown as The 355 Serves Up 2022’s First Wide Release

Photo Credits: Sony & Marvel Studios ("Spider-Man: No Way Home"); Universal Pictures ("Sing 2"); Universal & Tim Maurice-Jones ("The 355")

Exhibitors are preparing to endure a challenging start to 2022 as new releases go now that the calendar has turned,, but Spider-Man: No Way Home remains a box office force to lean on.

The good news: Sony and Marvel Studios’ epic comic book crossover remains a theatrically exclusive, word-of-mouth-driven event picture entering its fourth weekend, and it’ll retain IMAX screens once again. After a solid 33.7 percent third weekend decline over the New Year’s frame, Spidey eclipsed the $600 million domestic threshold and, in the process, surpassed Incredibles 2 ($608.6 million) to enter the top ten domestic earners in history.

The records kept falling to begin this week, too. No Way Home added $7.9 million on Monday to reach $621.5 million, overtaking Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($620.2 million). It then leap-frogged another fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe epic, 2012’s The Avengers ($623.4 million), to claim eighth place on the all-time chart with an additional $5.92 million on Tuesday as it summed $627.4 million through 19 days.

From here, the Spider-Man phenom still has a few more films within sight. Jurassic World ($652.4 million) should be overtaken during the coming weekend, which would slot No Way Home into seventh place for the record books. There’s also a realistic shot it can topple Titanic‘s $659.4 million lifetime gross for a sixth place claim by the end of Sunday.

The latter speculation, of course, depends on post-holiday holding power. Trajectories have already proven wild for many films in recent weeks — even by Christmas and New Year’s corridor standards — due to the ongoing pandemic and variable consumer sentiments. Holds last weekend were largely off the pace of New Year’s weekend 2010-2011 when the calendar last aligned the same way for New Year’s Eve to land on a Friday as it did this time around.

Renewed caution spurred by Omicron and the resulting surge in COVID-19 cases lately could again be a factor now that schools are back in session and adults are returning to work. This weekend’s top ten might barely top $50 million, which would easily mark the lowest since a top ten haul of $40.8 million during West Side Story‘s December 10 weekend bow.

The upside here is that some health experts are tentatively projecting the Omicron wave is close to peaking, in addition to being a less severe variant of the virus despite a higher contagious spread. Since moviegoers have sent Spider-Man to historic numbers in conjunction with the climbing virus cases, the long and short of it is that many consumers are returning to cinemas — but moviegoing patterns still remain noticeably below pre-pandemic levels as we hit the heart of winter.

As such, No Way Home and other holdovers, namely Sing 2, will need to be the pillars of staying power in the coming weeks and over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday frame next week with very few high profile, major studio titles opening in January now that Sony has delayed Morbius to April 1 (previously set for January 28).

On the subject of new releases, the only title going wide this weekend is Universal’s The 355, an international ensemble action-thriller led by Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, and Luptia Nyong’o. Despite the star power on hand, social and pre-sales tracking are underwhelming in the lead-up to release with metrics comparable to those of pandemic-era releases Copshop and The Protégé, as well as the pre-pandemic example of The Rhythm Section.

All three of those comparison titles opened below $3 million each during their respective first weekends, but The 355 will at least have the benefit of Universal’s marketing arm and a PLF footprint with Dolby Cinema and others screening the film.

As far as the market in general is concerned, as noted, holding power will be key to watch now that the core holiday run has ended and the industry braces for another winter season impacted by the pandemic — albeit in a much more stable condition than experienced one year ago before vaccine availability, major market re-openings, and a variety of content arrived.

Even when allowing for a grace period after Christmas, this is typically the time of year when award season fare would begin expanding into nationwide release for the winter box office. That status quo is again diminished this year due to the pandemic and target audiences for such films remaining the most cautious about returning to cinemas.

Other than next weekend’s Scream revival from Paramount, it will be February before another major studio film with commercial prospects hits theaters when Jackass (also from Paramount) and Moonfall (Lionsgate) are currently slated to bow on February 4.

Wide Release Forecast Ranges

The 355
Opening Weekend Range: $2 – 5 million

Weekend Forecast

Boxoffice projects between a 43 to 48 percent decrease for this weekend’s top ten films from last weekend’s $95.7 million top ten aggregate. 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, January 9 Location Count % Change from Last Wknd
Spider-Man: No Way Home Sony Pictures / Columbia / Marvel Studios $27,500,000 $663,300,000 4,012 -51%
Sing 2 Universal Pictures $12,000,000 $109,100,000 3,713 -40%
The 355 Universal Pictures $3,000,000 $3,000,000 3,145 NEW
The King’s Man Disney / 20th Century Studios $2,900,000 $24,700,000 3,040 -36%
American Underdog Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company $2,200,000 $18,600,000   -44%
The Matrix Resurrections Warner Bros. Pictures $2,000,000 $34,000,000 2,875 -56%
West Side Story (2021) Disney / 20th Century Studios $1,600,000 $32,400,000 2,290 -26%
Licorice Pizza United Artists Releasing $1,000,000 $8,200,000 772 -22%
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sony Pictures / Columbia $700,000 $124,600,000 1,501 -53%
Encanto Walt Disney Pictures $550,000 $92,400,000 1,450 -49%

All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

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