Moviegoers rang in 2022 and slammed the door shut on 2021 by watching “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the kind of escapist fare that seems to be resonating strongly in the middle of a public health catastrophe that stubbornly refuses to go away.
The superhero sequel easily topped New Year’s Eve box office charts, earning $15.4 million on Friday to send its domestic haul to a mighty $572.6 million. Its performance caps a strong year for its distributor, Sony Pictures, which also scored commercially with the likes of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” The film’s runaway success is welcome news to the exhibition industry, which is still struggling to come back after COVID upended the theatrical landscape. Omicron, the highly contagious variant that is leading to record cases of the virus in the U.S., may prove to be another setback for the business, but so far it hasn’t diminished interest in Spidey’s adventures in the meta-verse. Look for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” to add another $48 million to its bounty this weekend. That should push the film’s stateside gross to over $615 million and enable it to supplant “Incredibles 2” to become the tenth highest-grossing domestic release in history.
Universal and Illumination’s “Sing 2” continued to do reasonably well over the holidays, picking up $6.4 million to push its total to a respectable (for a pandemic) $76.4 million. The family film should generate $19.5 million over the weekend.
But after that the pickings were slim. Lionsgate’s “American Underdog,” a drama about Kurt Warner’s unlikely rise to become a two-time NFL MVP, took third place, earning $1.3 million to push its domestic total to just over $12 million. The inspirational film should earn $4 million over the weekend.
Fourth place went to 20th Century Studios’ “The King’s Man.” The film is an attempt to keep extending the “Kingsmen” cinematic universe that appears to have faltered, earning $1.2 million on Friday. That brings “The King’s Man’s” domestic total to a lackluster $16.3 million. The action-adventure should generate $3.7 million this weekend.
Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Resurrections” took fifth place, earning $1 million to bring its box office total to a disastrous $28.1 million. The sci-fi sequel, which cost a hefty $190 million to make, debuted simultaneously on HBO Max. That probably depressed ticket sales with some potential customers opting to remain at home to stream the film instead of hitting up the local multiplex. That decision was probably easier to make when people factored in the rapidly spreading variant. The fourth Matrix movie should gross $3.2 million over the holiday weekend.
Disney and 20th Century Studios’ “West Side Story” continued to struggle at the box office, earning $700,000 to push its domestic gross to $28.2 million. That’s a terrible result given that the film has earned rave reviews and cost $100 million to produce.
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