(UPDATED numbers as of Monday December 20, 2021.)
Star Wars no longer rules the December record books. Now it belongs to Spider-Man.
Blowing far past the already high projections of $150 million, Spider-Man: No Way Home pulled in a mammoth $260 million dollars domestically in its 3-day opening weekend. That tops all four of the recent Star Wars December releases, including the previous record of $248 million set by The Force Awakens back in 2015.
Also, the official Monday tally of $260M exceeded Sunday’s estimate of $253 million. That extra $7 million is significant in that it boosts No Way Home from the third best opening ever to #2, surpassing the $257.6M of Avengers: Infinity War. The final Avengers movie, Avengers: Endgame, remains the biggest launch ever with $357M.
Suffice it to say, the third Tom Holland Spider-Man solo effort marked the best opening weekend of the pandemic — and by a long shot. The previous high mark was October’s $90 million for Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Among its other records: No Way Home‘s opening day tally of $121.5 million on Friday is a new single day record for December, beating the $119 million of The Force Awakens. That total included $50 million in Thursday night previews (Thursday night numbers are always grouped into Friday totals.) The only film to have a bigger Friday, Opening Day, and Single Day is Avengers: Endgame (($156.7M).
All of these records are not only shocking by pandemic standards but even by previous Spider-Man standards. Tom Holland‘s two previous solo entries — Homecoming and Far From Home, both pre-pandemic — “only” managed $117 million and $92 million debuts. No Way Home topped both totals on its first day alone.
And here’s yet another way to consider what this movie achieved. In just one weekend, No Way Home made more money domestically than any other movie has in its entire run during pandemic. To date, only a handful have crossed $100 million and only Marvel’s Shang-Chi has past $200 million.
Clearly, the nostalgia-driven multiverse aspect of No Way Home is what launched it into a whole other stratosphere (which also included a best-possible A+ CinemaScore from viewers), and will likely serve as a template for comic book movies to come, Marvel and otherwise. DC is already hip to this trend as their upcoming Flash movie will have a multiverse wrinkle of its own, one that brings back Michael Keaton‘s Batman.
Oh — and these numbers were just from North America.
Globally, Spider-Man ruled the planet. Its international total of $340.8 million brought No Way Home to a worldwide launch of $600.8 million. That ranks as third-biggest ever to (you guessed it) Avengers: Endgame ($1.2 billion) and Avengers: Infinity War ($640 million).
The only thing holding Spider-Man back is the fact that No Way Home did all of this without any box office from China, where the movie has yet to secure a release date.
Yes, there were other movies in theaters, too, but in North America they only accounted for 9% of the box office receipts while Spider-Man took in the other 91%.
Guillermo del Toro‘s Nightmare Alley limped to a $3 million debut and fifth-place finish while last week’s champ West Side Story (from director Steven Spielberg) fell 68% from its $10 million open to $3.4 million, for a 10-day $17.9 million total. The weak showings of both will cause further hesitation by studios to back big-budget adult fare in the future.
Disney’s animated hit Encanto managed a distant-second for the weekend with $6.5 million. It has taken in $81.5 million domestically since it opened over Thanksgiving. Ghostbusters: Afterlife tied West Side Story for third with $3.4 million. The nostalgia-driven reboot (there’s that fan service again!) has now totaled $117 million in North America, making it a bona fide hit on a $75M budget.