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Spider-Man No Way Home’s historic $253 mil haul – and other things we can now reveal

People really like Spider-Man

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Tom Holland stars as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

Everyone knew Spider-Man: No Way Home would be a big hit at the box office…but no one was quite expecting the third-biggest opening weekend of all time.

No Way Home shattered marks for post-COVID box office, taking in $253 million at 4,336 North American theaters.

It was easily the best domestic opening weekend turnout of any movie in pandemic times. Prior to this weekend, no other COVID-era film had been able to cross even $100 million in a single weekend. The biggest domestic debut had belonged to another Sony’s comic book sequel, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which generated $90 million to start.

Sony may have purposely underplayed their hand a bit, predicting a $130-$150 million gross for the opening weekend – when the film made $121 million on Friday alone.

Peter Parker also raced ahead of the Omicron variant, which is causing some shutdowns in New York and other densely packed urban areas. Younger audiences were eager to see the film before all the spoilers landed online, Omicron be damned. The massive box office figures also reignited hopes that maybe people still want to go to the movies:

The film is experiencing the kind of demand that hasn’t been witnessed in theaters since Disney’s every-hero-but-the-kitchen-sink mashup “Avengers: Endgame,” which collected a historic $357 million in its 2018 debut. “No Way Home” isn’t quite reaching those (basically unattainable) levels, but the movie has been a formidable force, zooming past opening weekend tickets sales for box office behemoths like 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($247 million) and 2017’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($220 million). It stands behind only “Avengers: Endgame” and 2017’s “Avengers: Infinity War” ($257 million debut) as the third-best opening weekend in history. Counting “No Way Home,” only eight films have ever crossed $200 million in ticket sales in a single weekend.

But as Variety‘s story points out, the MCU may be able to get butts into seats, but more adult fare is still lagging. Guillermo del Toro’s well-reviewed Nightmare Alley struggled to a feeble $3 million over the weekend; counterprogramming doesn’t work in the pandemic era, and older folks are still staying in.

AND NOW WE HAVE SOME SPOILERS —I MEAN IT — SPOILERS!

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Now that No Way Home is finally out, we can discuss some of the surprises that only a heartless asshole or Alfred Molina would have ruined beforehand. Vulture has An Exhaustive List of Everyone Who Lied About the Spider-Man: No Way Home Cast, with poor Andrew Garfield outed as a habitual liar about his appearance in the film.

May 4, 2021: Entertainment Tonight releases an interview with Garfield on the same day. In it, he pretends he’s “closed the book” on revisiting the role of Spider-Man. “I haven’t had need to think about it, so it’s not something that I’ve really considered,” he lies. “So yeah, that’s my honest answer.”

 Tom Holland has also learned that lying is just another form of acting:

November 9, 2021: Holland vaguely tells Total Film that it was “interesting having those guys come in because they have a certain ownership over Spider-Man in their own way.” After a pause, he clarifies that he’s talking about already announced Spider-Man alums Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx. “People don’t believe me when I say that Maguire and Garfield are not coming back,” he says. “But people are going to have to believe me at some point.”

But old pro Willem Dafoe just knew how to wave away some impertinent questions:

August 12, 2021: The actor, who portrays the Green Goblin in the film, avoids answering the Wrap’s question about No Way Home. “I got lots of stuff happening now,” he says. “And, you know, I always feel like when a film comes out, that’s when it’s time to talk about it.”

As we all know, Alfred Molina, whose return as Doc Ock was a delight, just doesn’t know the meaning of the words NDA — or else thinks it stands for “now discuss all.” Back in April he just blabbed and blabbed and blabbed. And it was a beautiful thing.

“When we were shooting it, we were all under orders not to talk about it, because it was supposed to be some great big secret,” Molina said with a laugh during an interview with Variety about his role in the Oscar-nominated “Promising Young Woman.” “But, you know, it’s all over the internet. I actually described myself as the worst kept secret in Hollywood!”

Instead, not only did Molina confirm his involvement in “No Way Home,” he happily detailed his experience making the movie, and returning to a part he first played in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2” in 2004.

Speaking of Sam Raimi, fickle fans being what they are, all of a sudden everyone is just DYING to see Spider-Man 4, the movie that Raimi was going to make back in 2008 after the whole world spat on Spider-Man 3. Raimi was so demoralized by the Spidey 3 trauma he just threw up his hands and went back to other projects. And Amazing Spider-Man 3, the never-really-hatched third outing for Andrew Garfield is also suddenly popular.

Luckily producers Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige know that you can’t go No Way Home again, and are already cooking up future Tom Holland Spider-Man adventures, according to an interview in the NY Times

FEIGE Amy and I and Disney and Sony are talking about — yes, we’re actively beginning to develop where the story heads next, which I only say outright because I don’t want fans to go through any separation trauma like what happened after “Far From Home” [the previous Spider-Man movie, in 2019]. That will not be occurring this time.

PASCAL At the end of the movie we just made, you see Spider-Man make a momentous decision, one that you’ve never seen him make before. It’s a sacrifice. And that gives us a lot to work with for the next film.

While Kevin Feige already wears the crown of King of Hollywood (and all entertainment), Pascal is taking her own victory lap — and she has no need for a crown, because she has an amazing head of hair. Although according to Matthew Belloni’s What I’m Hearing…newsletter,

Good for Pascal, but the chatter around town seems to be about how damned fortunate she is to have hitched her wagon to the most successful producer of all time. No disrespect to Amy’s producing skills, and she made many great movies running Sony (including my favorite of the 2000s, The Social Network). Plus, what happened to her in the Sony hack was awful. But it’s kinda crazy: Pascal had essentially driven the Spider-Man franchise off a cliff with Amazing Spider-Man 2. So much so that she begged Feige for help. Now, having attached herself to the franchise, she’s produced three massive hits and is poised for a lot more—with Feige, of course.

Yeah, she was so DAMNED FORTUNATE to realize that teaming up with Feige was the right move to make instead of forging on with a bad direction, and then made it happen. So lucky!

Also, what is the immense attraction between actors playing Peter Parker and their love interests? Pascal advised Tom Holland and Zendaya not to follow in the footsteps of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and not to date.

PASCAL I took Tom and Zendaya aside, separately, when we first cast them and gave them a lecture. Don’t go there — just don’t. Try not to. I gave the same advice to Andrew and Emma. It can just complicate things, you know? And they all ignored me.

Maguire and Dunst had something of a “showmance,” that ended by the time Spider-Man 2 came out, but Garfield and Stone were in a relationship for four years. Will Holland/Zendaya stand the test of time or be One More Day‘d out of existence? It will be tough for Tom, no offense, because Zendaya is red hot and she’s going to be very busy for a while.

Finally (and this is a big spoiler and my very own theory) in No Way Home we see that only Maguire’s Spidey has organic webshooters. Could this be because he is the only American to play Spider-Man?

Oh wait, one more thing: it’s been noted that originally, Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to come out AFTER Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the Pre-COVID world, DSITMOM was to come out in May 2021, and Spider-Man 3 in July. So a bunch of script changes had to be made to both films — perhaps explaining a bit of the kludgy set-up for the multiversal rift in NWH. I’m sure we’ll be able to make our own retcons of the original plans when we see the new Doctor Strange movie, but it will be interesting to see if the tight-lipped Feige ever reveals his first master plan.

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