The box office has cleared for Spider-Man’s return.
Sony and Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” presented by Columbia Pictures, looks like it could gross anywhere from $85 million to $110 million during its opening weekend, according to industry tracking. The studio is hedging its bets lower, at around $80 million.
Either way, it should be a major launch for the third iteration of the character in the past 15 years. This time around Peter Parker is in high school. That’s important because it means the movie is more family-friendly than past versions of the character, and most other superhero films, let alone blockbusters in general. Tom Holland slaps on the suit, after playing the character once before in “Captain America: Civil War.” Holland got his start in the West End, playing Billy Elliot’s best friend Michael in the musical that would go on to sweep Broadway.
In “Homecoming,” Holland’s character strives to become worthy of holding the title of Avenger, under the skeptical guidance of Tony Stark. Michael Keaton plays the big bad in the film, Vulture. Jon Favreau plays Spidey’s guardian, Happy Hogan, and Zendaya stars as Michelle Jones (“MJ”), Parker’s brainy classmate.
The movie is opening in 4,341 North American locations, 392 of which will screen in Imax. Previews will kick off at 3,450 theaters starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. Reviews for “Homecoming” have been strong — it currently holds a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has also consistently dominated social media in recent weeks, due in good part by consistent and well-received marketing.
Historically Spider-Man movies have spread a fairly wide box office margin. In 2007, “Spider-Man 3” had the largest opening of any of the modern films, with $151 million. When Andrew Garfield took over as the webslinger, the movies took a hit — “The Amazing Spider-Man” debuted to $62 million in 2012, but then its sequel launched to $91.6 million two years later.
“Homecoming” is the only major release this weekend, as rival studios were probably rightfully hesitant to try to compete. In limited release, IFC is launching “City of Ghosts,” a documentary about a group of Syrian rebels; and A24 is putting out “A Ghost Story,” starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, who spend a good deal of the movie under a sheet.
“Despicable Me 3,” “Baby Driver,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” and “Wonder Woman” should remain the other popular titles this weekend. That said, the summer box office could use an overall boost. As of Sunday, the domestic total for this summer had slipped almost 8% behind 2016. This time last year, “The Secret Life of Pets” opened to over $104 million. As the industry looks ahead, it needs more than a trusty superhero to bring in business. It needs some sort of “Pets”-like surprise hit as well.