5 Reasons Why ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Landed a Heroic Box Office Debut

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock

With an estimated $257 million worldwide opening, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is about as unmitigated a success as is possible for a movie.

That’s been a rare sentiment this summer. Franchises like “Transformers,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and even “Despicable Me” are showing signs of fatigue and have begun banking more on the international market. The domestic box office has slumped about 8 percent below this point last year for the season. Nowadays, getting people into movie theaters can seem like a heroic effort.


Spiderman Homecoming Dark Knight

Should Superhero Movies Be Light or Dark?

That’s where superheroes come in. The following three big-budget movies have earned their stay this summer: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” ($857.7 million worldwide); “Wonder Woman” ($745.8 million worldwide); and now “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” If this summer has been reassuring in any way for the film economy, it’s that superhero movies still work. Below are five reasons why this latest release in particular stood out.

1. It captured buzz

It started, as many things do, at Comic-Con. There, last year, director Jon Watts and Tom Holland set the tone of what the movie would be for an already enthusiastic gaggle of fans. The job was an important one. There had been, after all, two other actors in the suit within the last decade and a half. Potential viewers had to have a reason to care about this particular version of the character. Spider-Man meets John Hughes? That was something different. The first official trailer dropped months later and raked in 266 million views globally in its first week. Then came partnerships with the NBA, Amazon, YouTube, and a media campaign that dominated social platforms for weeks leading up to the film’s release. But the tone was perhaps best captured by posters that showed Holland on the side of building in Midtown Manhattan, off an expressway sign, and lounging by the water wearing headphones. Combined, the ever-elusive and ephemeral buzz stuck around long enough to lead to a successful launch.

2. It appealed to younger viewers

Setting Spider-Man’s story in high school helped distinguish him from other Spideys, but it also did the same for the rest of the superheroes who have witnessed cityscape after cityscape crumble in recent years. In a landscape filled with sometimes very adult themes, “Homecoming’s” promotions suggested a guilt-free trip to the theater for families. Sure, it still carried a MPAA rating of PG-13, but he’s in high school. And former Disney Channel star Zendaya is there too! So far, the young male audience seems to be the movie’s biggest fan. Men below the age of 25 made up the largest portion of the audience, 35 percent, according to data from ComScore and Screen Engine’s PostTrak. The highest approval rating came from audience members between the ages of 13 and 17, 96 percent of whom rated the film either “excellent” or “very good,” the two highest marks in the poll.

3. Critical approval


Spider-Man Homecoming Trailer

10 ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

But young men aren’t the only cheerleaders. The grand finale of the marketing process came on June 29 when reviews for the movie were unleashed allowing the studio to claim one of the best-reviewed superhero movies of all time. It’s a testament to a whole host of individuals involved, but particularly Kevin Feige, who has set a precedent with the Marvel Cinematic Universe that a superhero movie can have it all — critical success, audience approval, and, of course, a massive payday in the end.

4. The right date

These days, the release dates for big studio movies are set years in advance. Heck, this film’s sequel’s release date was announced more than half a year before “Homecoming” even hit theaters. But as the launch approached, this weekend looked like a solid pick. It’s been six weeks since “Wonder Woman” entered theaters, and even that movie’s lasting waves of enthusiasm have seemingly trailed off at least enough for another hero to enter the picture. That, combined with the aforementioned fatigue that grazed last weekend’s big release, “Despicable Me 3,” was the perfect set-up for “Homecoming” to score.

5. Partnering with Marvel

As was teased earlier, Feige’s involvement in the project proves, yet again, that the Marvel label is the gold standard. Holland’s involvement in “Captain America: Civil War” meant that audiences weren’t coming to him in “Homecoming” cold. Fans who may have balked at yet another Spider-Man movie were more likely to be compelled to be invested now that he’s part of a larger narrative. The factors that lead to a successful launch are many and often times personal. But Feige and Marvel’s track record is such that audiences can trust — another rare sentiment in Hollywood that applies to what will end up as one of the biggest box office hits of the summer.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 18

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Chris Darling says:

    Reason 6: Robert Downey, Jr. Very little else has to be said. The man literally brings the party to the Marvel Universe and in this film, he also had some very touching moments as well that show the depth of his acting talents that the glibness of Tony Stark can often mask. Marvel was incredibly lucky/clever to get the preeminent actor of his generation to kick off the MCU.

  2. Joe says:

    Still doesn’t hold a candle to Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 since it’s considered the best super hero movie of all time right next to The Dark Knight. I’d take everything with a pound of salt regarding “Rotten Tomatoes” seeing as how Iron Man 3 got a 79% while the 2016 Ghostbusters got a 73%. The site is not credible and money is the only thing that determines it’s score. Hence why the people that saw it early have to give them good scores or else they’ll lose that early screening privilege.

    • Hanime says:

      My thoughts exactly. Wonder Woman at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes is way too high for a decent movie. It was good, but not great by any means.

  3. JOE S HILL says:

    I Was highly impressed by “SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING” since we saw his official debut in last year’s “CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WARS” and I must say that this Tom Holland actor did an okay job! I didn’t care for either of the previous movies with Andrew Garfield, especially after he remarked about Spider-Man becoming Gay, much less the casting! I am still loyal to the Sam Raimi versions (2002-2007) but the last one was both sad and depressing. but “SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING” is a fun-filled thrill ride, with an outstanding cast, as exampled by Michael Keaton’s sinister performance as “The Vulture”, and one of his henchmen, who was played by Bokeem Woodbine, who co-starred in the 2007 TNT series “SAVING GRACE”, and the appearance by Tyne Daly (“CAGNEY AND LACEY” and “JUDGING AMY”) this new Spidey flick will collect some serious Box Office dollars, and with the help of “Tony Stark” (Robert Downey, Jr) this movie will stay highly strong and powerfully good fun! the only annoying thing that I hate here, is the SONY name. and while SONY owns Columbia Pictures, I wish the company would respect the history of Columbia and keep their damn logo away from the credits-don’t we get enough of the SONY name through their Electronics?

  4. Jacques Strappe says:

    Marvel Studios attachment to film is the most important reason for Homecoming success, more than the other four reasons mentioned combined.

    • Robert says:

      Sony Pictures is the studio name.

    • Bill Clay says:

      Absolutely. I never bothered to see any of the Andrew Garfield Spider-man movies, because who needs another version of Spider-man so soon? But I went to Homecoming because it’s part of the MCU.

  5. Tony says:

    You got the rankings in the wrong order

    • Robert says:

      The amazing spiderman movies were good underrated in my opinion 5 years is not to soon hopefully reboot 2007 Spiderman 3 disaster The Amazing Spider-Man 2012.

  6. keiran says:

    well its simply because it had comedy and that is literally the only thing ppl seem to care about nowadays when it comes to superhero movies. I havnt seen this film to be fair but it is part of the mcu and that only tells me it will be a comedy fest from start to finish with any vaguely serious scene undermined or lead into by comedy and terribly timed one liners.

    CW rant: If CW is anything to go off for this character it makes me very worried about the quality of homecoming after all the storytelling was abysmal the entire involvement of spiderman on starks team by starks request(bribe) completely contradicted starks character development since AoU and the opening scenes of CW were stark is literally blamed for the death of a womans son and has a picture of him pushed into his chest(or hand i cant remember) it just seemed ironically hypocritical for the writers to have the same character run out and recruit the first wanna be hero kid he could find to his team in order to fight earths most deadly schizophrenic assassin who cant control his actions…
    Spidermans writers especially ignored all reason when it came to his motivations or point of view and had him quietly agreeing in the background to join forces with the same man who nearly ended humanity with his latest mistake and who should rightfully be in complete disgrace after his ultron fiasco not to mention during the scene he is simultaneously hitting on the hot milf of an aunt may… very poor execution it just felt like the studio got their hands on the rights to spiderman after the filming on CW had wrapped and they rushed to cram him in by any means necessary.
    Putting the massive negative of near genocide aside he was being asked to fight against captain america… the most famous and beloved of the mcu heros and he didnt even hesitate or ask any questions i dont know what the writers were on when they wrote his storyline hah but they did away with him 5 minutes later meaning his character added nothing atall to the main narrative.

    anywayyyy after an incredibly poorly done introduction to the cinematic universe i hope this film can somehow redeem him. In any case spiderman is famous for his wise cracks so i do expect a certain level of corniness similar to the older movies but the character is especially known for the touching and emotionally moving narratives not to mention an incredibly amount of focus on the love interest, if they have just turned him into a hipster kid who does nothing but sprout and endless stream of cringy one liners(which is typical of the mcu) and near forgets about the love interest(which is typical of the mcu) and/or has a comical defeat of a serious villain whos killed innocents(which is typical of the mcu) then i will most likely skip it :/

    • M says:

      Skip Spider-man: Homecoming. You’ve already decided the movie isn’t worth your time, nor any of the MCU movies. If Snyder & Ayers is doing it for you, then I’d just focus on their movies. Not sure how Justice League will be for you, though. Whedon helped with rewrites and not overseeing reshoots. Strangely enough, those movies are all in the same movie section.

      And don’t worry about what Rotten Tomatoes, critics, or “the masses” think. I’m in the same boat; not the one that hates the MCU & think Snyder & Ayers is the way to go (only saw BvS 2 months ago & Suicide Squad is still near the bottom of my Netflix list). I’m in the boat of people who regularly use the witticism & levitity on a daily basis similar to the MCU.

    • Yeah says:

      I don’t know you but I like the way you think. Thank you for not being a sheep and for seeing what the MCU really is. I tell people all the time about how much emphasis the entire MCU gives to comedy at the expense of virtually any redeemable element of cinema that’s worth remembering. I would say follow the DCEU but “the masses” have also showed zero intelligence in recognizing Snyder’s or Ayer’s emotionally grounded work, a sharp cut to any hope we had for real sci-fi/fantasy action adventure in the series. Now we’re going to get crap like Wonder Woman which borrows heavy from the need for humor and goofily-cast characters that totally and entirely betray any dramatic tone of the movie

      • M says:

        I know it’s subjective, but “crappy” isn’t a word I’d use to describe Wonder Woman. It definitely isn’t on level people on seemingly elevating it to. The parts that weren’t lifted from Captain America: First Avenger seemed more in line with Superman (’78) and that gets put onto the Olympus of comic book movies.

    • Craig Anderson says:

      What does CW (with The Flash and Green Arrow) have to do with Marvel?

    • keiran says:

      essay essay essay ;)

      • keiran says:

        Stefwhit i honestly dont know why anyone would use RT to see if a film is gd or bad that has to be one of the worst ways to go about it. My comment brought up my worries about the film with perfectly reasonable references to justify them and tbh i wouldnt mind someone telling me if they are true or false, was there any attention paid to a love interest? did they deal with the villain in a satisfactory was he actually treated as a true threat instead of a funny mustache twirling bad guy who gets a funny beat down as his big defeat? did they balance comedy with drama and emotion or was it just overrun with endless one liners?. All are gd concerns especially when this is the characters first standalone within the MCU and after his pitifully written introduction to the universe they are more appropriate concerns.

        The character has been around alot longer than the mcu and he has some fantastic films under his belt as well as some poor ones, the MCU is renowned for disregarding alot of narrative aspects just for the sake of including more and more comedy. All of my concerns are more than fair just look at the attention to the love interest in both spiderman franchises they out do every mcu relationship so far.

        The masses have spoken haha that made me smile i mean “the masses” said AOU was fantastic and rated in the 90s around its release but it has to be one of the worst superhero films i have ever seen, they shot a speedster for example… IGN said IM3 was the best mcu movie yet im sorry if the general consensus doesn’t fill me with confidence.

        and btw RT has the avengers first movie rated as on par with spiderman 2, Logan and The Dark Knight which tells you all you need to know about how reliable RT is… the first avengers film was a decent action/comedy popcorn flick which forgot about love interests and blended a dozen characters into a similar comedy styled personality including characters like the hulk it is far far off the standards of the aforementioned films but the masses (xD haha) would have you believe its the best superhero film to date.

        i doubt homecoming is on par with the original 1& 2 spiderman films but hey if RT says so xD

      • U seem to be “destined” to hate it regardless of the actual quality of the film evidence by your need to post a reply to a movie you haven’t seen. Who cares that the masses have spoke and it had the 3rd highest debut of the year and it scored a 93% on RT— your need to be convinced despite all that is pretty tellilng. So if you already made up your mind then don’t bother pretending otherwise. By the way- it was FREAKING AWESEOME!!! great movie!

  7. Lane says:

    All true. The brilliant casting of Tom Holland, relatively unknown to American audiences, coupled with the massive PR campaign where Holland appeared as the incredibly likable British actor with amazing acrobatic skills, enabling him to perform many of his own stunts, made Spiderman: Homecoming a sure winner. Mr. Holland has an amazing future, with his next two films, Avengers: Infinity War and United Avengers currently being filmed.

More Film News from Variety