2ND UPDATE w/Global Forecast: Leave it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to lift us out of the doldrums of summer.
After getting us started during the first weekend of May with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5M domestic) — still the top grossing release of the season at $383.4M stateside — Sony and Marvel will bridge the gap to the second half of summer with its webslinger reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming set to make over $100M at the domestic B.O.; $190M-$210M worldwide.
By Friday, the reboot will have swung into 60% of overseas territories with the exception of such majors as France, Germany, Spain, Japan and China. Industry sources are pegging the overseas launch at anywhere from $90M-$110M, although Sony is going more conservative at $80M-$95M. Reviews and word of mouth are through the roof.
Homecoming is already off to a $3.5M start in South Korea today with over 84% of the market share. That strong start is bigger, at today’s rates, than the day one launches of comps Doctor Strange, GOTG2 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Each of those films, as well as the Robert Downey Jr-starrer Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War, counted Korea in the Top 5 final hubs (save GOTG2 which had it in the Top 10).
On the low end stateside in 4,341 theaters, industry estimates figure that Homecoming can make as little as $90M, while more aggressive estimates are at $120M-plus. Sony sees $80M+, but that’s considered too conservative even in a franchise fatigued marketplace. Homecoming, despite being the sixth Spider-Man, is expected to sidestep that plague given that it’s the first time ever (not counting his cameo in last year’s Captain America: Civil War) that superhero will be incorporated in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe with his own solo outing. That was a deal that former Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal struck as a producer with Marvel following her departure from the Culver City studio in 2015. Because of the way Marvel rights were sold well before the comic-book millennial movie renaissance, Sony wound up taking options back in 1999 to all previous Spider-man scripts developed by MGM. This was prior to Marvel producing their own movies with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, etc.
Homecoming‘s inclusion in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe is what makes all the difference here at the box office, and that’s why the sixth Spider-Man can outstrip the debuts of the last two titles during its second phase Sony reboot, Amazing Spider-Man ($62M) and Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6M). Marvel chief Kevin Feige and his staff’s fingerprints are on this movie, and their titles undergo a rigorous internal quality control process before they hit the screen.
Sony premiered Homecoming last week and already the pic’s Rotten Tomatoes score is at 92% certified fresh. Chris Evans makes a minor cameo in the film as Captain America, while Robert Downey Jr. plays a supporting role as Tony Stark/Iron Man with his right hand man Happy, portrayed by Iron Man director/co-star Jon Favreau.
Demo-wise, analysts say Homecoming looks a lot like Iron Man 3 on tracking. The film is trending best with males under 25 first, then the over 25 bunch (Iron Man 3 did open to $174.1M).
While historically it might be logical to take a big film like Spider-Man out during the July 4th holiday, Sony was very smart to steer clear of it and open the weekend after so as not to be impacted by any holiday distractions. Homecoming opens tomorrow night in 3,450 locations at 7PM. Among its larger weekend theater count, 392 locations will be Imax sites while PLFs will number 601.
While summer at $1.9 billion has been lagging behind last year’s season by 8%, many are expecting Homecoming to take the industry through July, and ideally make Sony’s year. August is barren: There isn’t a comicbook movie release like previous years with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and DC’s Suicide Squad.
Sony’s Spider-Man franchise through five titles has amassed $3.96 billion worldwide. The first 2002 title from Sam Raimi is responsible for literally moving summer’s start date from Memorial Day weekend to the first weekend of May with a $114.8M domestic opening.
Spidey’s Overseas Outlook
Homecoming isn’t dated yet in China so that’s not an outsize factor here (Despicable Me 3 will own the weekend there.) The Middle Kingdom is currently toying with its unofficial summer blackout period and box office for local pics is down, so that begs a question as to whether the fall will bring the kind of forced face-offs between Hollywood movies that we’ve seen in the past (that actually happened to The Amazing Spider-Man which was positioned against The Dark Knight Rises in late August 2012). Still, whenever Homecoming does open there — likely late August/early September — it should find a keen audience that’s already the biggest market for the MCU, and the last two Amazing Spider-Man pics.
All of the Spider-Man films have released in China, going back to 2002 with the subsequent sequels growing apace with the market. The five-year gap between Raimi’s last Spidey spin in 2007 and Marc Webb’s 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man made for exponential increases: from $19M to $49M in box office. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 then nearly doubled its predecessor with over $94M (non-restated figures).
Looking at some of the comps for Homecoming, Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened to $97M in like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates ($506M ultimate IBO non-restated). For Doctor Strange, that figure is $89M ($445M IBO non-restated). Though she’s from a different universe, we might also look to Wonder Woman this weekend; the film opened at $78M in like-for-like plays and is still in release with $363.4M IBO to date, led by China, Brazil, the UK, Mexico and Australia.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 had China, the UK, Korea, Japan and Mexico in front. Doctor Strange was led by China, Korea, the UK, Brazil and Russia.
The pattern for Homecoming will closely mirror the above, and its all-audience aspect should work in its favor in such family-friendly markets as Brazil and Mexico. Overall, it will look to capitalize on summer (and other) holidays around the world.
One thing that the Spider-Man character brings to the MCU party is that he over-indexes in Japan. Marvel does well in that market, but not as well as the webbed wonder. Japan was consistently in the Top 5 markets on the last three Spider-Man movies. Although Japan has shifted its tastes to more homegrown fare in the last years, Homecoming is expected to perform after it bows in August.
In terms of the character, each of the last three Spider-Man titles swung from strength-to-strength internationally and introducing Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War teed overseas audiences up for this new standalone spin. Also factoring, Downey Jr’s Tony Stark has been heavily featured in the marketing and the actor has participated in overseas specialty stunt interviews.
Holland, for his part, might have wished he really had superpowers to defy jet-lag as he tirelessly traversed the globe in support of the movie, appearing on overseas chat shows, and doing press and red carpets alongside other folks from the film.
Holland and actress Laura Harrier went to Brazil and Mexico — in the latter they appeared at Conque, the local version of Comic-Con. Holland, Zendaya, Feige, Pascal and director Jon Watts together visited Paris and London where Holland made the now must-stop on Graham Norton’s couch.
Holland and Zendaya further visited Madrid and Barcelona. In the latter, Holland appeared with Watts at the CineEurope conference to get exhibitors excited about the movie.
In a panel focused on the big screen on Day 1 of the conference, Watts spoke right to the heart of the industry saying, “You go to the movies to see something you’ve never seen before… You go to the movies to be transported. That’s the responsibility of filmmakers and the people that hire the filmmakers — to try and find new dreams we can all share together.”
Other stops for Holland and cast members included Singapore, Rome, Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin and Seoul.
–1st Update at 11:09AM, Wednesday, July 5