Just two years after “X-Men” kicked-off the modern age superhero film genre, another Marvel title got its big screen debut. “Spider-Man”, starring Tobey Maguire, was released on May 3, 2002 to, at the time, the biggest domestic opening weekend of all-time: $114.8 million.
The Sony/Columbia Sam Raimi-directed film was the highest-grossing movie of ’02, with nearly $404 million. So, of course, a sequel soon followed. 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” had a five-day $152.4M start, but its overall total was lower than the original, with $373.6M.
Sony’s “Spider-Man 3” was the first in a trio of May 2007 heavyweights. It opened just two weeks before “Shrek the Third” and three weeks before “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. Spidey edged-out the others two, though came-in below the first two installments, with $336.5M.
The Spidey saga was clearly going downhill. So Sony decided to take a break… and then come back just a few years later to reboot the whole thing. Many people asked if it was necessary for the Peter Parker high school storyline to be re-done just 10 years after the start of the first franchise. But audiences were generally pleased with 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man”, even though it only grossed $262M.
I was in the minority on Andrew Garfield’s first film as the web-slinger – and again on his 2014 follow-up, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, which I think is much better. But mixed to negative reviews and reactions prevented it from going beyond $203M.
So once again, Sony asked themselves, “What do we do now?” How about having Spidey enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe, under Disney’s Marvel Studios “banner”? Tom Holland made his first appearance in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” (which isn’t, technically, labelled as a “Spider-Man”) movie, before getting his first solo adventure, 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (distributed by Sony).
It allowed a new generation of kids to be introduced to yet another Peter Parker in high school, to the tune of $334 million. That’s higher than Garfield’s films, but still below all three of the ones with Maguire.
But before we jump into sequel “Spider-Man: Far from Home” (which is the first live-action Spidey film to not be released in a year ending in 2, 4 or 7), there’s one more Spidey story that needs to be mentioned.
Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” didn’t get off to a powerhouse start at the box office, only bringing-in $35 million in its opening weekend. But word of mouth, glowing reviews (though not quite from yours truly) and Best Animated Feature awards show wins (Oscars, Critics Choice, Golden Globes, Annies) brought its take to more than $190 million. It’s the lowest-grossing Spidey film to date, but it has officially solidified SPA’s status as a dominant animation player (something I knew long before everyone else, after seeing their first movie, 2006’s “Open Season”).
How many movies will Holland do as Spidey? Will there be a “Spider-Verse” sequel? And will audiences connect to “Far from Home” as much as “Homecoming” (aka Box Office Sequelitis for this, too)?
Financial source: Box Office Mojo