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‘Far From Home’ Gives Spider-Man His Best Box Office Opening in Years

In its first week of release, ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ has seen the superhero’s best attendance since the Sam Raimi trilogy.
Spider Man Far From Home Thumbs Up
Sony Pictures Releasing / Marvel Studios
By  · Published on July 8th, 2019

You can’t go home again. For Spider-Man movies, that saying applies to box office, as no reboot installment will ever match, let alone exceed, the attendance of Sam Raimi’s trilogy of the early aughts. Spider-Man: Far From Home did its best, though, and despite starting out behind, and despite technically having a lower opening-weekend gross than its predecessor, the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel wound up with the best non-Raimi first-week attendance.

Reporting box office success for holiday releases is always tricky, at least when you’re attempting to make comparisons. Only a few of the seven live-action Spidey movies opened the week of the 4th of July, and their release dates vary depending on what day of the week the occasion landed on. Because Far From Home opened on Tuesday and through its first weekend has been out for six days, that’s the frame I’m using for attendance rankings.

I admit, the correlation of data isn’t perfect, but here’s a look at each live-action Spider-Man movie’s estimated total ticket sales after six days:

1. Spider-Man 2 (2004): 29 million
2. Spider-Man 3 (2007): 25.6 million
3. Spider-Man (2002) – 24.8 million
4. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019): 20.5 million
5. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): 17.6 million
6. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): 17.3 million
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): 12.9 million

According to Box Office Mojo, Far From Home had the 23rd best six-day performance ever, not adjusted for inflation, but also the very best for a title that opened on a Tuesday. With inflation or just looking at attendance, Transformers is actually the champion with 22.6 million. But at least Far From Home performed better in the frame than The Amazing Spider-Man considering that first Spidey reboot kicked things off better than the latest Spidey movie did.

Without adjusting for inflation, Far From Home broke the record for Tuesday opening gross. But when you look at the estimated attendance, The Amazing Spider-Man sold more tickets — 4.6 million including Monday evening previews. Far From Home‘s first-day sales were very close, at 4.4 million. Amazing’s Wednesday also saw greater attendance, in part because that was July 4th that year. But the rest of their six days, Far From Home performed much better.

Could it have been even greater? Box Office Pro’s long-range tracking had the site anticipating even higher numbers for both the three-day and six-day grosses of Far From Home. The actual current domestic gross, $185.1 million, isn’t even in their ballpark of $190-$230 million. According to CNN, however, Sony had lower expectations, which were exceeded by the movie’s actual performance over the last six days.

The reason for Far From Home‘s strong weekend following an already strong few weekdays of release is impossible to determine, but the movie’s general success is being credited to a number of factors anyway. One being that it’s a good movie. Another being that it was sold as not just a sequel to Homecoming but a direct follow-up to Avengers: Endgame and provides the real conclusion to Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But what about how it offers the first hints of Phase 4? Or that it has two post-credits scenes that actually matter to the future of the Spidey franchise and the MCU, and that they were buzzed about so much as moments you need to experience before you’re spoiled? Big movie and TV spoilers have become a marketing tool of late, leading audiences into the theater opening weekend or watching live so that fans can get the jump on all the secrets being leaked.

In the case of Far From Home, there wasn’t as much of a push about not spoiling things as there had been for Endgame. Chances are, though, that the word of mouth on the movie in those first few days convinced others that this MCU installment also needed to be seen immediately. Of course, that word of mouth could also just be positive buzz given that Far From Home received an ‘A’ grade from moviegoers via CinemaScore polling (compared to Amazing Spider-Man’s ‘A-‘) and actually got an ‘A+’ average from the under-35 crowd.

Far From Home doing an extra 10.4 million during its first weekend after already pulling in about 10 million in the days prior is also pretty impressive considering its biggest competition for pop culture fans was Netflix’s Stranger Things, which subscribers got to start binge-watching on Thursday. When the streaming service reveals its own numbers for the show, you can bet they’ll be higher than the Spider-Man movie’s attendance.

In other box office news, Endgame has made enough worldwide now to be just $15 million shy of Avatar‘s all-time global record. Meanwhile, Ari Aster’s sophomore feature, Midsommar, didn’t have as triumphant an opening weekend as his debut, Hereditary, which was a very big milestone for A24 last year, but more than 10 million tickets sold for an artsy horror movie isn’t bad at all. And after Far From Home, the problematic new documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love had the best per-screen average of any release.

Here are the weekend’s top 12 domestic release titles by the estimated number of tickets sold with new and newly wide titles in bold and totals in parentheses:

1. Spider-Man: Far From Home – 10.4 million (20.5 million)
2. Toy Story 4 – 3.8 million (34 million)
3. Yesterday – 1.2 million (4.1 million)
4. Annabelle Comes Home – 1.1 million (5.6 million)
5. Aladdin – 0.8 million (35.6 million)
6. Midsommar – 0.7 million (1.2 million)
7. The Secret Life of Pets 2 – 0.5 million (15.6 million)
8. Men in Black International – 0.4 million (8 million)
9. Avengers: Endgame – 0.34 million (94.1 million)
10. Rocketman – 0.31 million (9.9 million)
11. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – 0.25 million (18.3 million)
12. Child’s Play – 0.17 million (3 million)

All non-forecast box office figures via Box Office Mojo.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.