Last weekend, the Thursday through Sunday box office champion, West Side Story, opened with just over $10 million, but now Spider-Man: No Way Home has come to save the day at the box office with one of the biggest Thursday preview nights ever. No Way Home brought in $50 million on Thursday, according to Deadline.
For context, the highest Thursday preview of the pandemic era was Black Widow‘s $13 million. No Way Home not only smashed that mark, but it ranks as the third-highest preview night of all-time. Only Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Endgame had bigger Thursday previews with $57 million and $60 million, respectively. When combined with Friday’s estimated $50 million in ticket sales, No Way Home has a real shot of reaching a combined $100 million “opening day.”
AMC Theaters is also reporting that No Way Home has set a new mark for the strongest Thursday preview in December in AMC’s storied history. AMC estimates that 1.1 million people saw No Way Home in AMC theaters across the United States. That estimate doesn’t include the number of people who saw the flick at other movie chains. Endgame is the only film that surpassed that mark in April 2019.
How did Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios achieve this feat? It helps to have one of the most popular superheroes in the world. Since Spider-Man’s debut in 1962, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s iconic creation has been Marvel’s flagship character. The first Spider-Man movie set the stage for modern comic book blockbusters in 2002 with a domestic total of $403 million. It remains the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie to date, domestically. However, Spider-Man: Far From Home was the first Spidey film to clear $1 billion worldwide.
It’s also not a coincidence that all of the 2021 Marvel-related movies rank near the top of this year’s box office charts. Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and even Eternals put up impressive numbers. But none of those characters come close to Spider-Man’s popularity among hardcore fans and the general public. There were also certain surprises in No Way Home that drove a lot of the buzz in the weeks and months ahead of its release.
Another major factor in No Way Home‘s huge preview night is that it wasn’t really a night at all. A few weeks ago, No Way Home fans caused Fandango and other advance ticket sites to crash when tickets went on sale. To accommodate the demand, AMC and other theater chains started showing No Way Home in the early afternoon. They also cleared the majority of the other movies out of their theaters for the night, so Spider-Man’s latest adventure could have as many showings as possible. That’s why it became the first movie since Endgame to come close to those heights.
Now that audiences know what to expect from No Way Home, it will be interesting to see how high the weekend numbers play out.
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