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SYFY WIRE Box Office

'Spider-Man: No Way Home' first movie since 2019 to pass $1 billion at box office

Peter Parker defied the COVID odds to deliver a box office performance the world hasn't seen since the pandemic first began.

By Josh Weiss
Spider Man No Way Home

It's a Christmas (and multiversal) miracle! Spider-Man: No Way Home has officially surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, not only making it the highest-grossing movie of 2021, but also the first — and only — movie to have achieved such a financial feat during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dampened ticket sales for close to two years. For context, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the last Hollywood tentpole to achieve a billion-dollar box office all the way back in 2019.

Even more astounding is the fact that  it only took a week for Tom Holland's third solo outing as Peter Parker to become the 49th feature in box office history to secure $1 billion across its theatrical lifespan. Only Avengers: Endgame was able to do it faster over the course of five days. In addition, No Way Home is the second Spider-Man title to hit such a monumental figure after 2019's Far From Home, which closed out the Marvel Cinematic Universe's "Infinity Saga" and became Sony's largest movie ever from a box office standpoint with $1.13 billion.

Domestic numbers for No Way Home now stand at $467.3 million with international sales at $587.1 million for a global cume of $1.05 billion.

"Known for his speed and agility, it should come as no surprise that Spider-Man sprinted to the $1 billion global mark at a pace that would be impressive in the pre-pandemic era, let alone this still challenging marketplace," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "Perhaps Doctor Strange had a hand in cooking up a magical box office spell and gave an assist, but seriously, this is an astonishing and well-deserved achievement as the movie delivers on all levels in a way that has captivated audiences in cinemas on the big screen around the globe. The numbers reflect the perfection of what a fantastic movie on the big screen can deliver, even while facing unprecedented headwinds."

Despite rising fears related to the latest COVID variant known as Omicron, the third chapter in the Holland-led saga of arachnoid antics still managed to nab the second-biggest domestic opening in history last weekend with a massive $260 million in North America (placing it just below Endgame's debut of $357 million in the spring of 2019). The threequel placed third on the worldwide stage with $600.8 million (Endgame and Infinity War still occupy the top two slots of biggest global openings).

"Audiences and movie theaters around the world were holding out for a hero this holiday season, and No Way Home has clearly given them one," Shawn Robbins, Chief Analyst at Boxoffice Pro, says of the billion-dollar milestone. "It wasn't long ago that many doubted any film could eclipse $1 billion during the pandemic, but here Spidey is with room to still build on the number. We have to objectively remember this isn't going to be an every-week occurrence until the worldwide marketplace has recovered more fully, but it's a massive step in the right direction that shows how important the cinematic experience remains in our culture."

Helmed by the returning Jon Watts, the capstone to Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios' Home-centric Spider-Man trilogy finds Peter Parker dealing with the fallout of Mysterio revealing his secret identity to the entire world. Wanting to give MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) a shot at college life without the stigma of his alter ego mucking up admissions, Peter seeks out the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The smug sorcerer agrees to cast a spell that will make the world forget who Spider-Man truly is behind the mask, but the magic ends up going wrong and ripping the fabric of the multiverse apart.

As a result, a number of villains from other dimensions — Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) are able to make their way into the MCU.

The future of Holland's tenure as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger was recently placed into doubt with a number of clashing statements made by Sony and Marvel Studios executives like Amy Pascal, Tom Rothman, and Kevin Feige. However, given the swift critical, audience, and box office success of No Way Home, the odds are looking very good that both studios will once again team back up to swing through New York City together in another batch of Spidey projects.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters everywhere. It currently holds a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the second-highest score of any Spider-Man film after Into the Spider-Verse's 97 percent rating. No Way Home holds the 11th spot on IMDb's list of Top 250 Movies, placing it squarely between The Fellowship of the Ring and Fight Club.