Two impressive feats happened at the box office the last weekend of March 2022:
- Spider-Man: No Way Home became only the third movie ever to cross the $800 million barrier in North American box office
- Sandra Bullock‘s The Lost City earned the highest grossing debut for any original movie (i.e. non-sequel, non-remake, non pre-existing IP) of the pandemic era.
The third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie officially shifted from major blockbuster to all-time juggernaut this weekend when it joined Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Endgame as the only movies to make over $800M in the U.S. and Canada. That’s impressive by any metric, but especially so considering that post-pandemic theater attendance remains significantly lower than pre-pandemic highs.
No Way Home now stands at just over $800M; the two films it joins still rank as #1 and #2, respectively, with hauls of $936.7M and $856.7M.
Meanwhile, the duo of Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum plus co-star Brad Pitt flexed some major movie star muscle as The Lost City opened to $31 million domestic over its first three days to open at #1.
While this is short of the biggest debuts of the pandemic era (enjoyed by Spider-Man: NWH at $260M, The Batman $134M, Venom 2 $90M, James Bond’s No Time To Die $56M, and Dune $40.1M), what makes it significant is that it’s an original movie.
In other words, without any pre-existing source material from which to lure a fan base to multiplexes, The Lost City drew in large audiences on the sheer strength of its star power (and, with good advertising, the appeal of those stars having a mix of fun, romance and adventure).
Pre-pandemic, star power was already a waning commodity in the age of sequels, franchises, and cinematic universes, so for The Lost City to perform as well as it did proved that Paramount made the right bet to push it exclusively in theaters rather than relegating it to streamer Paramount+ (which had been a consideration).
It’s also a hopeful sign for studios and movie theaters alike. If the right mix of A-list talent and high concept entertainment can be struck, a movie doesn’t need to have the benefit of being based on a popular property to open big and play well.
Meanwhile, The Batman was finally bumped to #2 after a dominant three-week reign. Even so, the dark adaptation of the Caped Crusader still showed some superpower by taking in $20.5M to bring its overall domestic total to $332M and help boost its worldwide gross to $672M.
Tom Holland’s other movie, Uncharted, also continued to hold steady. Taking in $5M in its sixth week of release, the video game adaptation has now earned $133.5M domestically and $357 worldwide.