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‘Spider-Man’ stays at No 1 in 4th weekend

Lindsey Bahr

AP – The glamourous spies of The 355 were no competition for the movie theatre’s reigning webslinger.

Spider-Man’s box office dominance continued in its fourth weekend in theatres, adding another USD33 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday. With USD668.8 million in North American ticket sales to date, Spider-Man: No Way Home is now the sixth highest grossing release of all time domestically. Globally, with USD1.5 billion and counting, it ranks in eighth place.

The only major new film this weekend was Universal’s The 355, an original spy thriller starring Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger and Penelope Cruz, which debuted in third place with USD4.8 million from 3,145 North American theatres.

Directed by Simon Kingberg, reviews for the film about a global coalition of female spies have been less than stellar: It holds a 27 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

But the audience scores have been more enthusiastic, especially from women, and about a third of the attendees this weekend were over 45 – a demographic that has not gone out to movie theatres much during the pandemic.

A scene from the movie ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. PHOTO: SONY

With a holiday weekend coming up, Universal’s Head of Domestic Distribution Jim Orr said, “We think we’ll have a nice runway.”

The 355 came in behind the animated Sing 2, also distributed by Universal, which grossed an estimated USD12 million in its third weekend in theatres, bringing its global total to USD190.8 million.

With Omicron cases surging, Hollywood has entered 2022 cautiously. January’s biggest new release, the Spider-Man spin-off Morbius, was recently pushed to April.

“There’s a bit of uncertainty in the marketplace because of the Omicron variant,” said Comscore’s senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “Studios want to protect their crown jewels and give them the greatest shot at success in movie theatres. A delay like that shows they’re not giving up on the theatres. But studios are very aware of this marketplace and what the challenges might be.”

And while January is now destined to be quiet at the box office, Dergarabedian said that Spider-Man has been a “beacon of hope” for the industry.

“It shows that audiences want to go back to the movie theatre,” he said. “We could end up having a really strong box office year, but only time will tell.”

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