Can Spider-Man: No Way Home catch Avatar’s US box office record?

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the box office juggernaut that can’t be caught.

The comic book adventure, starring Tom Holland as Marvel’s favourite teen web-slinger, opened in theatres in December and spent every weekend except one as the top movie at the North American box office. This weekend proved to be no exception. Now in its seventh weekend of release, No Way Home has again secured the No 1 spot over holdovers, including Scream and Sing 2, capping off a particularly quiet January at the movies.

Over the weekend, Sony’s superhero sequel collected US$11 million from 3,675 North American venues, a scant 17 per cent decline from its prior outing. Those ticket sales put Spidey’s latest exploits at US$735 million at the box office, maintaining its position as the fourth-highest grossing domestic release in history.

Presently, No Way Home is only US$25 million from unseating Avatar (US$760 million) as the third-biggest movie ever (not adjusted for inflation). For any other pandemic-era release, adding another US$25 million in ticket sales would be a high if not insurmountable barrier to cross since the movie has been available in cinemas for nearly two months. At one point, it seemed unlikely that Spider-Man would be able to reach those particular box office heights. But, as past weeks have demonstrated, No Way Home is no ordinary movie. It has the kind of legs that most arachnids would kill for. In other words, James Cameron’s groundbreaking 2009 sci-fi epic may soon find itself bumped from bronze. But worry not, Na’vi Nation. Avatar will easily maintain its all-time global box office title with US$2.802 billion.

“As the film continues its dominance and notched numerous box office records, it’s a very safe bet that No Way Home has yet another milestone to conquer and that is surpassing the mighty Avatar’s North American box office gross to become the third-highest grossing film of all-time,” predicts Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore.

Catching the No 1 and 2 spots in North America, Avengers: Endgame (US$858 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (US$936 million), would require nothing short of a miracle. But, hey, third place isn’t so bad considering the state of the world.

At the international box office, Spider-Man: No Way Home became one of the select films to cross the US$1 billion mark. Even more impressive, it surpassed that milestone without playing in China, the world’s biggest moviegoing market. With US$1.74 billion globally, No Way Home ranks as the sixth-highest earning movie of all-time at the worldwide box office.

Without any new nationwide releases, Scream once again took second place on domestic box office charts. The Paramount Pictures slasher “requel” brought in US$7.3 million from 3,518 locations between Friday and Sunday, marking a 40 per cent dip from last weekend. It takes North American revenues to US$62.1 million, a decent tally since Scream only cost $25 million to produce.

Universal’s Sing 2 landed at No 3 with US$4.8 million from 3,450 screens. The cartoon musical sequel, which debuted around Christmas, has generated an impressive US$134.5 million to date, making it the highest-grossing animated film in pandemic times.

Another Universal release, the faith-based romantic drama Redeeming Love, secured fourth place with US$1.85 million from 1,963 theatres. Ticket sales fell 48 per cent from its opening, bringing its total to a paltry US$6.5 million. Universal is only distributing this film, so at least it isn’t on the hook for production fees.

Disney and 20th Century’s The King’s Man rounded out the top five, grossing US$1.8 million from 2,440 venues over the weekend. After six weekends in theatres, the prequel in the Kingsman action comedy series has earned a moderate US$34 million in North America and US$114.4 million globally.

After a month that’s been light on new releases, movie theatre operators hope attendance picks up in the coming weeks with Lionsgate’s disaster movie Moonfall and Paramount’s prank comedy Jackass Forever on Feb 4, Disney and 20th Century’s whodunit Death On The Nile on Feb 11 and Sony’s video game adaptation Uncharted on Feb. 18. The next superhero to save the day won’t arrive until Robert Pattinson’s The Batman, from Warner Bros Pictures, hits theatres on Mar 4. Bat-Signal, consider yourself activated.

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