EXCLUSIVE: Tomorrow, on its 101st day of release, Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home will reach the rare domestic box office milestone of $800M, becoming one of only three movies to do so in Hollywood history after 2015’s Star Wars: Force Awakens ($936.6M) and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M).
At the same time, Deadline hears that the Tom Holland-Zendaya-Benedict Cumberbatch movie sold 2.1M+ units in the U.S. during its first week of digital release, the pic made available on March 15. We’re informed on good authority that’s a digital sales industry record for a movie in its first week, ahead of all previous rival titles. No Way Home debuted on digital platforms 88 days after its theatrical release — a rare pre-pandemic traditional window. Back of the napkin revenue for No Way Home‘s electronic sales is close to $42M, off a $19.99 price.
We all know how excited some studios were about experimenting with theatrical day-and-date on their streaming services, whether they were giving the movies away free to subscribers or charging them an extra $30, however, witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Sony blockbuster, a key, high example that when a studio practices a theatrical window/ancillary business model, the riches are there. Tee a movie off on a premium format like the big screen gives it automatic luster, thus making it desirable when it becomes available in homes. Anything less, is a cheap car. We already reported some time ago how No Way Home was profiting in its theatrical window with $610M after a global B.O. of $1.75 billion. That figure is significantly higher now that the MCU pic’s global is at $1.89 billion. Head scratching ensues over the money left on the table with Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow going day-and-date on Disney+, and stalling at $379.7M WW. But for Disney, it was all about their love affair with subscribers.
Remember how No Way Home almost didn’t come together as Sony and Disney’s Marvel were hashing out terms? See what happens when everyone kisses and makes up? Marvel wound up co-financing this $200M sequel at 25% with Holland’s webslinger contracted to appear in another Disney/Marvel film. No Way Home producers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal say more Sony/MCU Spidey is already in store.
You can say that a movie set in a Marvel Cinematic Universe is a self-fulfilling prophesy at the box office.
There are some at other studios who are envious about No Way Home‘s success, and have sniped that the movie was an anomaly at the pandemic box office, not the standard. Try telling exhibition that after being broken for the majority of 2020 and into 2021. Try telling that to agents whose job it is to morph their clients into stars and successful, big screen filmmakers. Talent isn’t getting rich off of streaming views or subscriber counts. People went out of their way to see this movie not just when Omicron was raging, but when mask mandates eased, because it inherently was an anomaly plot-wise in the MCU and Spider-Man canon. Moviegoing for Spider-Man: No Way Home superseded any handicaps presented by the pandemic.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home is arguably the most important movie to the movie theater industry ever,” emphasizes Comscore Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
“Can you imagine if it had flopped?,” he adds, “Then every other movie would have been negatively impacted due to a lack of dynamic momentum to carry forward in the box office.”
“More importantly, the perception of the movie theater business as a viable enterprise would’ve been immeasurably impacted and not in a good way,” Dergarabedian notes.
It’s only now that you hear in the wake of Spider-Man most rival major studio bosses acknowledging that theatrical paves the way for a successful overall entertainment business, that “day-and-date doesn’t work at all.”
While it’s been the rule for a while that it’s franchises that open movies at the box office, not stars, Spider-Man may have changed that theory. You can’t discount the combined social media power of Tom Holland and Zendaya (who according to RelishMix had 210.2M social media followers at the time of the pic’s opening) for fueling the third highest global opening of all-time, Sony’s biggest ($600.5M) and the studio’s top grossing movie ever. Zendaya and Holland spurred a social media reach of 1.23 billion for the movie, and that’s not counting the 50 billion-plus fans who reposted TikTok videos of the duo lip-synching, flirting, and joshing each other in interviews. Outside of No Way Home, Zendaya and Holland have proved to be catalysts for other great box office openings and even in-home viewership.
Imagine a Dune without Zendaya? Clearly a brilliant stroke to include her among the sci-fi ensemble, Dune being the only $400M grossing Best Picture Oscar nominee (and the highest grossing theatrical day-and-date title). On TV, the Emmy winner’s Euphoria is the second-most watched HBO series after Game of Thrones.
Holland charted Sony’s Uncharted to more than $106M+ during its first global opening weekend ($139M including its early offshore debut). The Playstation IP source feature easily became a new franchise for the Culver City lot.
Other notable records for Spider-Man: No Way Home not already mentioned above:
–While the Jon Watts-directed, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers written movie crossed $800M stateside slower than the time it took Avengers: Endgame (32 days) and Force Awakens (23 days) to reach that benchmark, the movie did hit $1 billion WW in 12 days, making it the third-fastest film to hit that mark, tying with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
—The sequel remains the third highest grossing movie stateside, having already surpassed Avatar ($760.5M) back on Feb. 15.
–Worldwide at $1.89 billion, No Way Home is the 6th highest grossing film ever.
—No Way Home scored the second biggest domestic opening of all-time with $260.1M after Avengers: Endgame‘s $357.1M.
–Among December openings, it’s the biggest global debut ever, beating The Force Awakens‘ $528.9M.
—Spider-Man: No Way Home is one of four MCU titles to receive an A+ Cinemascore alongside Black Panther, The Avengers and Avengers: Endgame
Spider-Many: No Way Home arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD on April 12. Sony, which has a policy of committing its event movies to a theatrical window, has Spider-Man villain spinoff Morbius opening next Friday on April 1. Industry estimates are already buzzing that the Jared Leto movie could open to $50M at the domestic B.O..
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