Spider-Man vs. the MCU
So far, there have been sixteen films in Marvel's Cinematic Universe. There are solo introduction films like Doctor Strange, Thor, Iron Man, etc; sequels like Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 2, etc; and team-up movies like The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War, which feature multitudes of heroes converging for a game-changing event.
Some people had hopes that Spider-Man: Homecoming would play like a team-up film, since Iron Man plays a key supporting role, but such hopes were somewhat unfair, since Tony Stark plays a role akin to that of the wise old mentor who guides the hero along his journey, rather than a co-lead himself. Then again, Homecoming can't really be judged as a solo introduction film, either, since the character was introduced in Civil War, and it's a reboot of a reboot. It was a double-edged sword; Spider-Man is a household name, but were audiences burned out on the character after the first failed reboot?
Fortunately, its placement within the MCU suggests there is still plenty of life in the Spider-Man brand. Domestically, Homecoming is the seventh-highest-grossing MCU film, ahead of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and virtually identical to the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course, it's way behind The Avengers and Civil War, as well as breakout sequels Iron Man 3 and Guardians Vol. 2, but that's still a fantastic performance by most metrics. On a global scale, the film did even better. Homecoming the fifth-highest-grossing MCU film worldwide, only after the two Avengers movies, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: Civil War. This indicates that Spider-Man is still a top tier property, even after two reboots, though the inclusion of Iron Man certainly helped the film's worldwide prospects.
Spider-Man vs 2017 Superhero Blockbusters
So far within 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year, following Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2. Worldwide, the top four change, with Wonder Woman and Guardians Vol 2 swapped out for Fate of the Furious and Despicable Me 3 (Beauty and the Beast and Spider-Man still hold the first and fourth spots, respectively).
What does that mean for Homecoming's performance relative to Wonder Woman and Guardians? Interestingly, while Homecoming didn't quite make the headlines of either two movies, it actually out-grossed them both worldwide. As mentioned earlier, Homecoming closed with $879 million, while Guardians finished with $863 million, and Wonder Woman ended its global run with $821 million.
Domestically, Spider-Man brings up the rear in the trilogy of summer superhero epics; its $333 million is a far cry from Guardians Vol 2's healthy take of $389 million, and even further from Wonder Woman's glass-ceiling-shattering $412 million.
One thing which kept Homecoming from making the same headlines as Guardians, or especially Wonder Woman, was its staggered release schedule. The film opened in many territories in early July, but it didn't hit Japan until a month later, and it didn't release in China until August 8; combined, the two territories grossed an impressive $141 million, which gave the impression Homecoming was more in line with the Amazing duology, rather than up there with the biggest of the original trilogy.
Is Spider-Man: Homecoming A Hit?
With the benefit of hindsight, it's safe to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming is a huge success for Sony and Marvel. The character was successfully rebooted in Civil War, but Homecoming proved that Tom Holland could carry the weight of the legendary franchise on his young shoulders. In terms of Spider-Man films, Homecoming landed neck-and-neck with Spider-Man 3, inflation notwithstanding. The fact that it outpaced both Amazing films surely comes as a relief to Sony, who made a bold move in sharing the character with Marvel Studios. Fortunately, it paid off, revitalizing the character, while simultaneously introducing a charismatic new hero to the growing ranks of Avengers: Infinity War.
Who knows where the Sony partnership will go from here? In addition to Spider-Man's confirmed appearance in Avengers 3 and 4, Marvel's Phase 4 is set to kick off with a currently untitled Homecoming sequel, and Sony is moving forward with spin-off movies Venom and Silver & Black. It is yet to be seen if these Spider-branded spin-offs will prove to be canon within Marvel's universe, or merely standalone stories with their own aesthetic sensibilities.
Of course, the massive success of the Sony/Marvel partnership has also sparked hopes that other studios will allow Marvel Studios to share the rights to their characters. Fans have been dying for Marvel's First Family, The Fantastic 4, to make a proper appearance in the MCU, and even Hugh Jackman himself has expressed interest in returning to his most famous role, Wolverine, if it were to be set in Marvel's playground of creativity. While none of these deals have yet to come to fruition, or even officially enter talks, the Sony/Marvel Spider-Man deal proved that, at the very least, it's possible.
Spider-Man: Homecoming isn't the highest-grossing movie of all time, or of 2017. It's not even the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie. But that's okay, because it didn't need to be. It just needed to accomplish what the Amazing movies could not: put the series on solid critical footing and making a ton of money while keeping the budget in check. Homecoming's budget was at least $85 million less than Amazing Spider-Man 2, and it ultimately out-grossed ASM2 by $170 million. Sony is absolutely filing this one in the "win" column.