Box Office: Spider-Man: No Way Home scores third biggest box office opening of all-time

We knew it would be big but it was always a matter of HOW BIG. Spider-Man: No Way Home swung into theaters over the weekend and dominated the box office with the third biggest opening of all time.

Spider-Man: No Way Home debuted with a massive $253 million box office opening. This is the best December domestic opening of all time, the best Sony opening ever (topping the $151.1 million opening of Spider-Man 3), and the third-best ever among all films as it beat the opening of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($247.9 million).

The news is also good for No Way Home overseas. The film boasts the third-best global debut for all films with an opening of $587.2 million. It trails only Avengers: Endgame which took in $1.22 billion globally during its debut and Avengers: Infinity War ($640.5 million) and that was pre-pandemic. Here in the states, box office analytics firm EnTelligence reports that 20 million people watched Spider-Man: No Way Home this weekend which truly represents a return to form for moviegoing in the wake of the pandemic. Throw in an “A+” CinemaScore, a 99% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and joyous word of mouth out of the gate, Spider-Man: No Way Home is going to dominate the rest of December and might be the one film that we will continue to talk about heading into the new year in terms of its overall performance.

Believe it or not, there were other movies playing in the marketplace besides Spider-Man: No Way Home. Encanto maintains second place with a gross of $6.5 million. That’s a drop of 35% which is a decent hold as it should continue to perform decently through the holidays. A $100 million domestic finish is still in the cards as the film currently stands at $81.5 million. Globally, Encanto took in another $7.9 million from 47 overseas markets and brings its worldwide total to $175.5 million.

Falling hard to third place is West Side Story with a gross of $3.41 million. That’s a massive drop of 68% as this movie musical adaptation proves that it will be no The Greatest Showman in terms of legs. I hate to say this but Steven Spielberg is looking at a rare misfire because even with some holiday inflation that could boost grosses a bit, the film isn’t going to come close to recouping its $100 million+ budget. I think a lot of people are going to wonder what went wrong here because reviews were really solid and it’s going to be an awards contender but I honestly think it comes down to movie musicals being a tough sell lately along with the fact that the older-skewing audience just isn’t showing up for the film. Overseas the news isn’t much better for West Side Story as it took in another $2.1 million from 47 international markets and brings its global total to $27.1 million.

In fourth place, we have Ghostbusters: Afterlife which grossed $3.4 million. That’s a decline of 52% which was to be expected with the arrival of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Sony Pictures is still laughing all the way to the bank because not only is No Way Home dominating but Ghostbusters: Afterlife has also proven to be a hit thanks in large part to them keeping the budget relatively low ($75 million). Ghostbusters: Afterlife has grossed $117.2 million domestically after adding $1.8 million from 53 international markets, the film’s overseas grosses land at $56.4 million.

Rounding out the top five is Nightmare Alley with a gross of $2.9 million. This really should’ve been a platform release instead of a fully wide endeavor to start because a film like this needs to build interest before the masses begin to take it in. I think Searchlight dropped the ball here because reviews are solid enough (80% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and it’s getting awards attention with Guillermo del Toro looking like a good pick for a Best Director nomination. The film received a “B” CinemaScore which isn’t crazy good for a film like this and I honestly think the film is going to struggle to find its audience over the holidays. This one is a miss that really shouldn’t have been one if Searchlight would’ve just released it gradually before going wide.

What are YOUR thoughts on this weekend’s box office results?

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home $253 M $253 M
2 Encanto $6.5 M $81.5 M
3 West Side Story $3.41 M $17.9 M
4 Ghostbusters: Afterlife $3.4 M $117.2 M
5 Nightmare Alley $2.9 M $2.9 M
6 House of Gucci $1.8 M $44.8 M
7 Eternals $1.1 M $163.5 M
8 Clifford The Big Red Dog $400 k $48.5 M
9 Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City $280 k $16.7 M
10 Venom: Let There Be Carnage $220 k $212.4 M
Source: Deadline

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