As expected, Spidey opened huge with $117M, kicking off a rebooted franchise in auspicious fashion. But how does its weekend gross compare to fellow superhero moneymakers, and could it have done better?
Since its no surprise the webslinger had a fantastic opening weekend, let’s take a look at the numbers and where it falls in the grand scheme of things.
1. It had the 3rd highest opening weekend of 2017, behind BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ($174.7M) and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 ($146.5), but ahead of WONDER WOMAN ($103.2M)
2. It had the highest opening weekend for a character debut (non-direct sequel) within the Marvel Universe, edging out the first IRON MAN film by nearly $20M (not adjusted for inflation)
3. It had the 7th highest opening weekend among the 16 films within the current Marvel Universe.
4. It was the 2nd highest debut weekend for a SPIDER-MAN film after 2007’s SPIDER-MAN 3 ($151M), not adjusted for inflation, beating out the openings of BOTH Andrew Garfield AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films.
So with all those figures out of the way, it was clearly a hit, and considering it was generally well-liked by audiences (and critics), the next few weeks look to be very profitable ($300M domestic is well within reach).
Could it have opened bigger? Clearly, with SPIDER-MAN 3’s $151M opening in 2007, the wall crawler has the potential to scale much greater heights than it did. Also, the film that introduced Tom Holland as the rebooted Peter Parker – 2016’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – opened to $179M. As ridiculous as it sounds, by comparison, $117M seems a little….underwhelming. So let’s indulge the ridiculous for a moment and dissect a couple factors that may have played into Spidey NOT turning in the year’s biggest opening weekend, since on paper it clearly COULD have done so.
1. Franchise Fatigue, and SUPERHERO Franchise Fatigue in particular. SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING was the 6TH film to feature superheroes released in 2017 (this includes POWER RANGERS and THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) and the 3rd such film in the past 2 summer months. That’s one nearly every month. A whole lot of capes, masks, muscles and spandex. The fact that audiences still flocked like they did is a tribute to the enduring love of the character, the power of the Marvel brand (and audience’s continued love for this current Marvel Cinematic Universe), the inclusion of the beloved Robert Downey Jr. as a prominent character in the film, and the glowing reviews – many of which called it the “Best Film of the Summer/Year”.
2. Actor Tom Holland is the 3rd SPIDER-MAN in 15 years and 6 films. That’s a lot of rebooting and restarting for ANY character. The only other superhero given the same amount of rejiggering in the past 15 years has been Batman, and that’s counting both THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE and BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, neither of which can really be considered direct “reboots” as much as completely separate entities. Clearly, some audiences were not interested in another Spidey-based go ‘round, and it’s understandable.
3. Vulture? I hardly know her! Spider-Man has one of the best rogues galleries of villains within the Marvel Universe. With Doc Octopus, Green Goblin, Kraven the Hunter, Venom, Black Cat and Electro among the most popular, the Vulture feels slightly second-tier, and it is unlikely that his inclusion drove much fan interest in and of itself.
So with all the weekend dust settled, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING performed well within the high expectations, but didn’t break any major records of note. Buzz is on par with WONDER WOMAN and BABY DRIVER, the summer’s two other word of mouth successes, and with sequels already in development and Spidey popping up in the next AVENGERS films, the future looks very rosy for the franchise.
Next weekend – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES wraps up the popular and critically acclaimed trilogy, and horror fans will have a new film to WISH UPON.