When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2017, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
This is the third consecutive Marvel-manufactured superhero title in our 2017 blockbuster tournament Top 10. Combined across Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel’s 2017 slate generated a little more than a half billion dollars in profit ($529 million), though you’ll need an asterisk because this is Sony’s franchise while the others belong to Disney. But all three of these hold the creative footprint of Marvel boss Kevin Feige, illustrating his uncanny knack in matching filmmakers to material, cross pollinating characters from one movie to another, and anticipating what audiences and critics want in a social media era when moviegoers can determine the financial fate of an intended tentpole before it hits the screen.
Spider-Man is a rarity in itself, in that this is the third time the franchise has been rebooted with the same core story over just 15 years. Amy Pascal presided over the first two as Sony Pictures chief, and when she became producer, Sony chief Tom Rothman made the deal to fully involve Marvel. That opened up numerous possibilities beyond bringing in the creative steering of Feige and incorporating the humor lacking in the first two incarnations. Just as important, Tom Holland’s pubescent wall crawler, refreshing with his wide-eyed enthusiasm and not wearing the disaster with Uncle Ben’s death that shackled the other Spideys in perpetual gloom, made an eye-popping debut alongside Black Panther and the other Marvel heroes in Captain America: Civil War. He was a major piece of a film that grossed $1.15 billion in global box office, and he’ll be back in next month’s Avengers: Infinity War. From a care and feeding of a superhero franchise standpoint, this was one of those moves that will answer a future question, when people one day look back at Feige’s Marvel success rate and wonder how it was possible.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
What a difference it makes having Marvel involved: Spider-Man: Homecoming generated $200.1M in profit, 184% more than the $70.3M earned by the 2014 webslinger title The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Homecoming earned slightly more in worldwide revenues than Amazing, $664.2M to $640.2M, but overall theatrical and ancillary costs dropped 19% between the Garfield and Holland versions, moving from $570M to $464.1M and providing more surplus cash to Sony. Homecoming yields a 1.43 cash-on-cash return. Chances are the second time around — with Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 on July 5, 2019 — the current pic’s $45M in participations will potentially spike. It’s quite conceivable that Marvel will outstrip its 2017 $529M profit this year from its trio of titles — already, Black Panther is projected to earn more than $460M, with Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp also on deck.