- "Spider-Man: No Way Home" could become the first and only film released in 2021 to surpass $1 billion at the global box office.
- As of Tuesday, the Marvel Cinematic Universe flick topped $751.3 million in worldwide ticket sales, making it the third-highest grossing film of the year at the global box office.
- Box office analysts warned that a surge in coronavirus cases and fears about the new omicron variant could temper the film's ticket sales, especially in the event of a return to cinema shutdowns.
"Spider-Man: No Way Home" has already smashed domestic box office records, and it is now out to tackle a feat no other film has managed in nearly two years — reaching $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
At present, the highest-grossing film of the year is "The Battle of Lake Changjin," a Chinese film released in November that has garnered $904.9 million worldwide, according to Comscore data. Another Chinese film, "Hi, Mom," which debuted in February, is No. 2 with $900.4 million in global ticket sales.
"I wouldn't bet against Spider-Man and his ability to climb into the $1 billion box office club," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
After securing more than $600 million worldwide over its opening weekend, "No Way Home" continued to tally strong ticket sales on Monday and Tuesday, generating more than $150 million at the global box office. Heading into the weekend, this trend is expected to continue.
Estimates suggest that the film will take in between 50% and 70% of its opening haul this upcoming weekend, which would easily push "No Way Home" past the $1 billion mark.
If the film doesn't surpass that figure this weekend, it will likely collect it sometime during the following week. Each year, the eight-day span between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve is one of the most lucrative periods for the movie industry. This stretch typically accounts for 4.5% of the full year box office receipts, according to data from Comscore.
"Exceeding $1 billion [in 2021] is a foregone conclusion at this point, barring any drastic turn of pandemic events," said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. "Considering how recently some doubted that the industry could see a performance on this scale anytime soon as the world grapples with Covid variants, vaccine distribution, and an assortment of market restrictions, it's a remarkable achievement."
Dergarabedian also warned that a surge in coronavirus cases and omicron fears could temper the film's ticket sales, especially in the event of a return to cinema shutdowns.
On Monday, Quebec closed cinemas across the province, but it's unlikely a similar move would occur in the U.S. where there is less of an appetite for mask mandates and even less for lockdowns.
"That said, this is a film that is seemingly impervious to all marketplace forces and operates in its own multiverse where the rulebook doesn't apply," Dergarabedian said.
Audiences flocked to theaters last weekend to catch "No Way Home" before potential spoilers could be leaked online. Now, they are returning for repeat viewings, a common occurrence for MCU movies.
"One billion dollars is a milestone that was starting to be taken for granted pre-pandemic," said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations. "This should be celebrated far and wide by cinema fans, as many believed the $1 billion milestone just wouldn't be possible in this day and age."