New kid on the block

‘Spi­der Man’ slings $117-mil­lion de­but and Sony re­joices

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY JAKE COYLE

“Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing’’ swung past ex­pec­ta­tions, open­ing with an es­ti­mated $117 mil­lion in North Amer­ica and giv­ing a Sony Pic­tures a much needed hit.

“Home­com­ing’’ was one of the big­gest tests yet for the no­tion that do­mes­tic movie­go­ers are grow­ing weary of se­quels and re­boots and suf­fer­ing so-called “fran­chise fa­tigue.’’ ‘’Home­com­ing” kicks off the third ‘’Spi­der-Man” it­er­a­tion in the last 15 years, and the sec­ond re­boot since 2014’s ‘’The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man,” with An­drew Garfield.

But Sony has kept Spi­derMan air­borne. For “Home­com­ing,’’ the stu­dio re­turned to Spi­der-Man’s teenage roots, cast­ing Tom Hol­land in the part. Crit­ics and au­di­ences re­sponded, with many call­ing Jon Watts’ it­er­a­tion one of the best Spi­der-Man films.

Sony also, for the first time, part­nered with Kevin Feige and Mar­vel Stu­dios to pro­duce the film and rope “Home­com­ing’’ into Mar­vel’s wider cin­e­matic uni­verse. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man ap­pears as Spi­der-Man’s men­tor, and Michael Keaton plays the vil­lain Vul­ture.

Those in­gre­di­ents, along with a mar­ket­ing ef­fort that ap­pealed to young movie­go­ers, pushed “Home­com­ing’’ to the best “Spi­der-Man’’ de­but since 2007’s “Spi­der-Man 3.’’ The film, made for about $175 mil­lion, also grossed $140 mil­lion in­ter­na­tion­ally over the week­end.

“It’s a tri­umphant re­turn for Spi­der-Man,’’ said Josh Green­stein, Sony Pic­tures’ pres­i­dent of world­wide mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion.

“It’s an in­cred­i­ble win for Sony, for our part­ners at Mar­vel and Kevin Feige and Amy Pas­cal, who pro­duced it.’’

“Even though there have been other Spi­der-Man movies, this film feels fresh and new and dif­fer­ent and spe­cial, and I think that’s what’s re­ally res­onat­ing with au­di­ences right now,’’ added Green­stein.

Sony has strug­gled in the years since the in­fa­mous cy­ber hack of 2014, af­ter which Tom Roth­man even­tu­ally re­placed Pas­cal as stu­dio chief. (Pas­cal has since turned to pro­duc­ing, in­clud­ing this and fu­ture “Spi­der-Man’’ in­stall­ments.) Box-of­fice dis­ap­point­ments like the Dan Brown adap­ta­tion “In­ferno,’’ Ang Lee’s high-fram­er­ate gam­bit “Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk’’ and the cul­tural flash­point “Ghost­busters’’ have dot­ted its lineup.

AP PHOTO

This im­age re­leased by Columbia Pic­tures shows Tom Hol­land in a scene from “Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing.”

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