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

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

“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 Spi­der-Man 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 “Spi­derMan” 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.”

A quick and quirky orig­i­nal

“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.) Box­of­fice dis­ap­point­ments like the Dan Brown adap­ta­tion “In­ferno,” Ang Lee’s high-frame-rate gam­bit “Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk” and the cul­tural flash­point “Ghost­busters” have dot­ted its lineup.

But now, Sony has ar­guably the two big­gest hits in the land: one a smartly re­cy­cled fran­chise, the other a quick and quirky orig­i­nal. Edgar Wright’s ac­claimed ac­tion-mu­si­cal “Baby Driver” slid just 38 per­cent in its sec­ond week, com­ing in third with $12.8 mil­lion. The movie, which cost $34 mil­lion to pro­duce, has al­ready earned $56.9 mil­lion do­mes­ti­cally. Last week’s top film, “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3,” dropped to sec­ond with $34 mil­lion.

As good as the news was for Sony, the week­end’s re­sults also proved a modern-day movie maxim: No one does fran­chise-build­ing bet­ter than Marvel. “Spi­der-Man” is one of three ma­jor sum­mer hits thus far, fol­low­ing the Marvel-Dis­ney se­quel “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” and the Warner Bros.-D.C. Comics re­lease “Won­der Woman.” The lat­ter suc­cess came only af­ter sev­eral high-pro­file mis­steps in Warner Bros.’ at­tempt to build a Marvel-style uni­verse of films. Ear­lier this sum­mer, Uni­ver­sal’s plans for its “Dark Uni­verse” of mon­ster movies got off to a rocky start with the poorly per­form­ing “The Mummy.”

Sony’s smartest move on “Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing” might have been de­cid­ing to bring it into the Marvel fold. “No­body knows Marvel bet­ter than Marvel,” said Paul Der­garabe­dian, se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst for comS­core. They re­ally un­der­stand the mythol­ogy of these char­ac­ters, the legacy of these char­ac­ters, and Spi­der-Man is one of the crown jew­els of the su­per­hero world. No way was Sony ever go­ing to give up on Spi­der-Man. So what do they do? They col­lab­o­rate more closely with Marvel, and it paid off hand­somely this week­end.” Es­ti­mated ticket sales for Fri­day through Sun­day at US and Cana­dian the­aters, ac­cord­ing to comS­core. Where avail­able, the lat­est in­ter­na­tional num­bers also are in­cluded. Fi­nal do­mes­tic fig­ures will be re­leased yes­ter­day. 1. “Spi­der-Man: Home­com­ing,” $117 mil­lion ($140 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 2. “De­spi­ca­ble Me 3,” $34 mil­lion ($139 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 3. “Baby Driver,” $12.8 mil­lion ($3.9 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 4. “Won­der Woman,” $10.1 mil­lion ($6.8 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 5. “Trans­form­ers: The Last Knight,” $6.3 mil­lion ($18.1 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 6. “Cars 3,” $5.6 mil­lion ($3.1 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 7. “The House,” $4.8 mil­lion ($1.4 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional). 8. “The Big Sick,” $3.7 mil­lion. 9. “47 Me­ters Down,” $2.8 mil­lion. 10. “The Beguiled,” $2.1 mil­lion. — AP

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