One of the biggest box office prospects of the summer was Spider-Man: Homecoming. After a splendid introduction to the re-rebooted version of New York’s famed webslinger in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, hopes were high for Spidey’s first solo adventure within the MCU, and enough people turned out to see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man adventure to generate a total domestic gross of $333,528,381, and a whopping worldwide gross of $879,598,965.
Homecoming was born out of a desire from Marvel to include the character in their shared cinematic universe, as well as Sony’s desire to make a Spider-Man film that would rescue the character following the lukewarm critical reception and underwhelming box office returns of the ill-fated Amazing Spider-Man series, starring Andrew Garfield.
Now that the dust has all but settled on Spider-Man: Homecoming, let’s take a look back at how the Jon Watts-directed adventure fared at the box office. There are many different contexts in which one can view the film’s box office performance. How does it compare to Garfield’s films, as well as Sam Raimi’s original trilogy? How does Homecoming stack up against fellow 2017 superhero blockbusters Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2? And where does the film land in within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Let’s break it down.
Back in 2014, Sony was banking on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 joining the “billion dollar club.” The film was expected to lead into a whole Spider-Man Expanded Universe, opening the door for movies based on The Sinister Six, Venom, Black Cat, Spider-Man 2099, and more. The budget for Amazing Spider-Man 2 was reportedly greater than $250 million (not including marketing), and Sony was really banking on it to succeed in enabling their own cinematic universe to compete with the MCU.
Of course, it didn’t exactly work out that way. The film closed with $708 million worldwide, lower than its predecessor by around $50 million, and nearly $300 million short of Sony’s lofty ambitions for the title. For most movies, $700 million is a tremendous accomplishment, but not for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. On top of its relative financial disappointment, the film was also skewered by fans and critics for being loud, dumb, witless, and simply one of the worst films of 2014.
On the other hand, Spider-Man: Homecoming released in a very different environment. First of all, the reception to Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War was much stronger than Andrew Garfield’s first turn as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. The film makes liberal use of its MCU setting, building off the events of The Avengers and even including Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau in supporting roles. Homecoming was an expansion of a pre-existing cinematic universe with incredible brand recognition and consumer trust, while the Sony Pictures Amazing films were always stuck in the shadow of Sam Raimi’s groundbreaking Tobey Maguire movies. Perhaps most importantly, the budget was kept at to a reasonable $170 million… Well, reasonable by the standards of mega-blockbuster superhero spectacle, at least.
With all this in mind, Homecoming had a much smaller hill to climb, and more help in climbing it.
Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man vs. Spider-Man
As mentioned earlier, Homecoming is the second reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, following Amazing Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield, and the original, with Tobey Maguire.
In the pantheon of Spider-Man movies, Homecoming is in an interesting position. Domestically (in the United States and Canada), Homecoming made $333 million, placing it miles ahead of both Amazing films. Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a domestic disappointment with a relatively meager $202 million, while the original reboot landed with a more sure-footed $262 million. At the time, however, the first Amazing Spider-Man movie was seen as a modestly acceptable performer; analysts knew there was little chance for it to reach the lofty heights of the original trilogy, but if it did solid business, then it would at least have room to grow with the sequel. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
When comparing Homecoming with the original trilogy, things become a bit trickier. It’s impossible to overstate how much of a phenomenon the 2002 Spider-Man film really was. Even without accounting for 15 years worth of inflation, that movie brought in a massive $403 million domestic, which makes it, by far, Spider-Man’s highest-grossing adventure to date (adjusted, it made $617 million). Spider-Man 2 had a $373 million domestic haul, while Spider-Man 3 sits in third place with $336 million.
While a decade of ticket price inflation stretches out the margins a bit further (bringing Spider-Man 3 up to a cool $434 million), both Sony and Marvel have to be pleased with Homecoming‘s $333 million take; back in 2007, Spider-Man 3 had a record-breaking budget of $258 million, which makes it still one of the most expensive movies ever made, and Homecoming’s budget was scaled back in comparison. As for its domestic performance, the fact that Homecoming escaped the pull of the underwhelming Amazing films and is within the same wheelhouse as the original trilogy is a victory.
Globally, Homecoming fares even better. To date, Spider-Man 3 remains the highest-grossing Spider-Man film worldwide, with a staggering $890 million total. Homecoming is only just behind it, with $879 million, making it the second-highest-grossing Spider-Man movie yet, not including Captain America: Civil War, in which the webhead played only a supporting role.
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