The Success of "Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Spider-Man: No Way Home was released on December 17, 2021, and it was extremely successful. Within the first week of its release, NWH became the highest-grossing movie of the pandemic era, making over a billion dollars in only ten days. It was the second-fastest movie of all time to do so, upstaged only by Avengers: Endgame, another Marvel movie. NWH also became Sony’s most successful movie and the third-highest-grossing movie over a seven-day period, among the many other records the movie has broken. At the time of writing, NWH has a critic’s rating of 94% and an audience rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as 8.9/10 stars on IMDb and 4.8/5 stars on Google. How did this movie achieve such feats during a surge in COVID-19 cases? The answer lies in how the movie was crafted and promoted, as well as in the eagerness of fans.
Some of the biggest factors contributing to the prosperity of this movie were just the baseline facts. For example, regular promotion garnered a lot of hype, because NWH is the third Spider-Man movie with Tom Holland and was rumored to be the last. The last installment of a successful trilogy almost always does the best. Some examples include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Marvel’s own Avengers. On that point, being a Marvel movie, NWH already has an advantage over other movies in theaters right now. According to IMDb, movies that are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) make up 20% of the top 50 highest-grossing movies of all time, with NWH already at #30 at the time of writing.
NWH started getting an excess amount of press about two months before its release, when rumors started circulating that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, the two past live-action Spider-Mans, were going to appear in the movie. The rumor made sense because the villains from their films were already confirmed to be returning, including Jamie Foxx’s Electro, Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, and Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. However, Marvel neither confirmed nor denied rumors, choosing to leave the fans to their speculations. This fueled an insane amount of attention which came mostly in the form of fake set photos, fan posters, and the interrogation of Andrew Garfield in every interview he was doing for his other projects. All of this increased hype for the movie and allowed Marvel and Sony to exploit that attention.
Additionally, the usage of all three Spider-Mans captured many generations of viewers. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man was released almost 20 years ago, so Marvel was able to get older fans excited for the possibility of this team-up. Sometimes, superhero movies can be geared towards a younger generation, who will understand contemporary jokes and still be excited about the action. However, this movie easily reaches a much larger audience by including various Spider-Men and correlating villains. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, and the writers of NWH used that to their advantage. The movie was chock-full of lines recalling previous Spider-Man films and even brought back the original Spider-Man theme music, composed by Danny Elfman.
Overall, Spider-Man: No Way Home was an extremely well-done movie. It deserves all its praise and records, and it will be remembered as a powerful fan experience, a revitalization of the film industry during the pandemic, and one of the most successful movies of all time.
The movie is currently not available on streaming, but it is expected to be on Disney+ by the summer of 2023.
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IMDb. “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 17 Dec. 2021, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10872600/.
IMDbPro. “Top Lifetime Grosses.” Box Office Mojo, IMDb.com, 2021, https://www.boxofficemojo.com/chart/top_lifetime_gross/?area=XWW.
McClintock, Pamela. “‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Becomes Sony’s Top-Grossing Pic of All Time at U.S. Box Office.” The Hollywood Reporter, Penske Media Corporation, 28 Dec. 2021, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/spider-man-no-way-home-no-1-sony-pic-1235067421/.
Rubin, Rebecca. “Box Office: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Eyes Huge $100 Million in Second Weekend as ‘Sing 2’ and ‘Matrix 4’ Battle for No. 2.” Variety, Variety Media, 25 Dec. 2021, https://variety.com/2021/film/box-office/box-office-spiderman-no-way-home-matrix-sing-2-1235142679/.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Edited by Rotten Tomatoes, Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango, 2021, https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/spider_man_no_way_home.