Spider-Man: No Way Home Swings Past Black Panther At The Box Office

The box office rang in the new year with a major blockbuster crossing a gigantic milestone. In its third weekend in theaters, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" once again bested the competition rather easily, and made it one of the biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe movies of all time, thus, making it one of the biggest movies of any kind to ever be released. As for everything else? It was more bad than good and virtually every other studio entered 2022 with much to consider. Let's dig in.

No Way Home Becomes the Cream of the MCU Crop

Dropping just 37.7% in its third weekend, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" earned another $52.7 million over the New Year's weekend, bringing its domestic total to $609.8 million. That lands it a spot in the top 10 movies of all time, putting it just past "Incredibles 2" ($608.5 million). But the bigger story is that, worldwide, the latest MCU flick has earned $1.36 billion globally, which officially puts it past "Black Panther" ($1.33 billion). That now makes it the highest-grossing, non-"Avengers" MCU movie in history, which is truly a remarkable accomplishment, especially when we consider that the movie's biggest surprises were not put forth in the marketing, even if many of those surprises did leak ahead of time.

In any event, even with a raging pandemic, Sony's biggest movie ever continues to add to its total and is now guaranteed to get past the $1.5 billion mark, and may well get closer to $2 billion before it's all said and done — especially if it can secure a release in China. It is currently number 12 on the all-time worldwide chart, sitting just behind "Avengers: Age of Ultron" ($1.4 billion). It's got a real shot at getting all the way up to the number six spot, overtaking "Jurassic World" ($1.67 billion). Beyond that, we're in the $2 billion club, with "Avengers: Infinity War" ($2 billion) sitting in the number five spot.

Sing 2 Swims, Almost Everything Else Sinks

One of the only other truly positive stories at the box office currently is Universal's "Sing 2," which earned another $19.6 million in its second frame, dropping just 12.2% week-to-week. While it's still pacing well behind the original, it has now crossed $144.5 million globally and should be approaching its break-even point sooner rather than later, when taking its $85 million budget into account. That means, in theory, any money it makes in a few weeks from premium VOD rentals, as well as Blu-ray/DVD sales, not to mention merch, will likely be mostly profit. Is it going to be enough to get a third movie going? Maybe, maybe not, but it's a success that is in no small part aided by its very reasonable production budget.

While the first movie made $634 million globally, that was five years ago. It was a very different time and, with exceptions like "Frozen II" or "Incredibles 2," sequels that come out long after the original often suffer diminishing returns. So, if "Sing 2" can get even half of what its predecessor did, we should probably consider it a big success if we grade on the Covid curve.

Unfortunately, it was mostly bad news from there on out, with virtually everything else in theaters this weekend either running out of gas in the tank, or firmly cementing their place in Bombsville.

Bomb Round-up

The good news? Disney's "The King's Man" climbed up a spot from number four to number three in its second weekend. The bad news? It still made just $4.5 million, with its worldwide total sitting at $47.8 million. There is virtually no saving this one. Whether or not that hurts director Matthew Vaughn's plans for a proper "Kingsman 3" remains to be seen, but this is a rough result considering both of the previous movies made over $400 million globally.

The Kurt Warner biopic "American Underdog" came in at number four with $4 million, taking its total to $15 million. It's not a big, bad flop considering it wasn't produced for blockbuster money, but it's not a great result, that much is certain. Meanwhile, Denzel Washington's "A Journal for Jordan" quietly punched its ticket to Bombsville as well, taking in just $1.1 million in week two for a $4.7 million total. Even with a relatively small $25 million budget, that really hurts.

A couple of cherished filmmakers suffered greatly this weekend as well, with Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" earning an abysmal $2.1 million in its fourth weekend. The $100 million musical has earned just $52 million globally. Even if it sweeps the Oscars, there is no saving this one. Guillermo del Toro, meanwhile, has been forced to watch "Nightmare Alley," his follow-up to the Best Picture winner "The Shape of Water," drown in the flow. Coming in at number 11, it earned a mere $972 thousand in its third weekend. Its total domestic haul is at $7.5 million. That's about as bad as it gets for an acclaimed movie with a $60 million budget.

For my money, though, it was "The Matrix Resurrections" that suffered the most. The blockbuster sequel to the iconic sci-fi franchise earned just $3.8 million in its second weekend domestically for a $30.9 million total. That is wildly problematic considering its budget is said to be in the $190 million range. The good news is that, internationally, the picture is better, as the movie has earned $75.1 million overseas, which gives it a $106 million total. Buzz and word of mouth is so-so on this one, which doesn't help.

However, the biggest issue is that the film is available for free to HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. That may well explain the 70/30 split between international and domestic ticket sales. Warner Bros. probably would have benefited from an exclusive theatrical release with this one. Enough to get it into profit? Probably not, but easing the bleeding might have been nice. It will get a release in China on January 14, which could help a great deal. We shall see.