Weekend Box Office Report: December 17 – December 19, 2021

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The weekend box office report is provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.

Weekend Estimates Update:

Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home zoomed past its already lofty expectations to debut with an estimated $253.0 million this weekend. The Jon Watts directed superhero film starring Tom Holland, Zendaya and Benedict Cumberbatch set a number of opening weekend records this weekend, including the largest opening weekend ever for the Spider-Man franchise, the largest opening weekend ever for Sony, the largest opening weekend ever for the month of December (a record that was previously held by 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens with $247.97 million) and the largest opening weekend since the re-opening of domestic theatres (a record that was previously held by fellow Sony release Venom: Let There Be Carnage with $90.03 million). Spider-Man: No Way Home also registered the third largest opening weekend of all-time; behind only 2019’s Avengers: Endgame and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and still has a chance of surpassing the $257.70 million debut of Infinity War to wind up in second place when actuals are released on Monday. The opening weekend performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home is made even more impressive given the current overall theatrical environment as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Anticipation for Spider-Man: No Way Home was obviously off the charts, thanks in part to the added presence of Doctor Strange, questions as to what direction the film would help the MCU take going forward and the immense buzz around just who would and wouldn’t be included in the film. In recent days, exceptional critical reviews and very strong initial word of mouth helped build demand for the film even further. Spider-Man: No Way Home started out with $121.85 million on Friday (which included an estimated $50.0 million from Thursday preview shows that began at 3PM), took in $73.80 million on Saturday (which was down 39 percent from Friday, but up an impressive 3 percent when removing preview grosses from Friday) and is estimated to decline 22 percent on Sunday to gross $57.35 million. Spider-Man: No Way Home grossed an estimated $22.0 million from domestic IMAX screens this weekend, which represented 8.7 percent of the film’s overall weekend gross.

It will be interesting to see just how well Spider-Man: No Way Home holds up going forward. On the one hand, the film will clearly benefit from its exceptional early word of mouth, the ongoing holiday season and its event film status. On the other hand, Spider-Man: No Way Home will still have to deal with six new releases over Christmas weekend (which will take up screens over the holidays regardless of how they perform as a whole) and obviously COVID-19 (especially given the new Omicron variant) could once again become more of a factor at play for the theatrical industry in general.

Internationally, Spider-Man: No Way Home debuted with an estimated $334.2 million from 60 markets. That places the film’s global launch at a spectacular $587.2 million. According to Sony, that represents the third largest global opening ever and was 113 percent higher than the opening weekends of the recent No Time To Die in the same international markets. Estimated debuts for Spider-Man: No Way Home this weekend included $41.4 million in the United Kingdom, $32.4 million in Mexico, $23.7 million in South Korea, $18.7 million in Australia, $18.2 million in India, $17.9 million in Brazil, $17.8 million in France, $17.4 million in Russia, $13.0 million in Italy, $11.4 million in Germany, $10.4 million in Spain, $8.2 million in Indonesia, $7.3 million in Taiwan, $6.8 million in Argentina and $6.3 million in Hong Kong. Spider-Man: No Way Home grossed an estimated $14.2 million from international IMAX screens, which places the film’s global IMAX total at $36.2 million. Upcoming international openings for Spider-Man: No Way Home include Thailand on Thursday, December 23, Japan on Friday, January 7 and the Philippines on Saturday, January 8.

On the opening weekend performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group, notes “This weekend’s historic Spider-Man: No Way Home results, from all over the world and in the face of many challenges, reaffirm the unmatched cultural impact that exclusive theatrical films can have when they are made and marketed with vision and resolve. All of us at Sony Pictures, are deeply grateful to the fabulous talent, both in front of and behind the camera, that produced such a landmark film.”

In the face of Spider-Man: No Way Home, only Disney’s Encanto was able to have an impressive hold this weekend among major holdovers. The well-received computer animated film placed in second with an estimated $6.53 million, which was down 35 percent from last weekend. Encanto passed the $80 million domestic mark this weekend and has grossed an estimated $81.54 million through 26 days, as the film continues to pad its status as the highest grossing animated film domestically since re-opening. However, in the coming week Encanto will face new direct competition for family audiences from Universal’s Sing 2 beginning on Wednesday (December 22) and will also become available via streaming on Disney+ on Christmas Eve (December 24). Internationally, Encanto grossed an estimated $7.9 million this weekend from 47 markets. That brings the film’s international total to $94.0 million and current global haul to $175.5 million.

Meanwhile, after an already modest debut last weekend, Disney and 20th Century’s West Side Story was down two spots and a troubling 68 percent to land in third with an estimated $3.42 million. Obviously West Side Story took an even bigger than expected hit from Spider-Man: No Way Home this weekend, but at the same time this weekend’s hold also suggests that West Side Story may not be going over as well with audiences as it has with critics (despite the film’s strong A rating on CinemaScore). The ten-day total for West Side Story stands at $17.98 million and at this point it will obviously be very important for the film to stabilize as soon as possible going forward. Internationally, West Side Story added just an estimated $2.1 million this weekend from 47 markets. Respective totals for the film through Sunday stand at $9.1 million internationally and $27.1 million globally.

Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife is currently estimated to finish closely behind in fourth place with an estimated $3.40 million. Ghostbusters: Afterlife declined a sizable, but understandable, 52 percent from last weekend. Through 31 days, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has grossed $117.25 million domestically. Internationally, Ghostbusters: Afterlife grossed a modest $1.8 million this weekend from 53 markets. That brings the film’s international total to $56.4 million and current global total to $173.6 million.

The weekend’s other new wide release, Disney and Searchlight’s Nightmare Alley, was off to a soft fifth place start with an estimated $2.96 million. The Guillermo del Toro directed thriller features an ensemble cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara and Ron Perlman. The decision to open Nightmare Alley in wide release against Spider-Man: No Way Home was always puzzling and obviously didn’t do the film any favors this weekend. On the average, critical reviews for Nightmare Alley have been good, but not glowing, and the film looks to be going over fairly similar with audiences after receiving a respectable B rating on CinemaScore. The international launch for Nightmare Alley doesn’t begin until January.

United Artists Releasing and MGM’s House of Gucci claimed sixth place with an estimated $1.85 million. Due in part to a significant location count loss from last weekend, House of Gucci declined a sharp 55 percent this weekend. The 26-day domestic total for House of Gucci stands at $44.89 million. With a current international total of $61.3 million, House of Gucci has now passed the $100 million global mark with a global total of $106.2 million.

In international news, Warner’s The Matrix Resurrections was off to an estimated $9.2 million start from 7 select markets. Debuts for The Matrix Resurrections this weekend included $3.9 million in Russia, $3.9 million in Japan and $0.79 million in Thailand. In the next week The Matrix Resurrections will be released throughout much of the world, including domestically on Wednesday.

Read more at BoxOfficeReport.com

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