With the release of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” this week, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is poised for another hit.
The latest “Spider-Man” film from Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios is expected to gross a powerful $125 million in ticket sales Tuesday through Sunday as the studios take advantage of the long Independence Day weekend.
The superhero action spectacle will probably boost what has so far been a mixed year for the box office compared with 2018, thanks to a series of underperforming studio movies and indie films. Domestic receipts in 2019 are down nearly 10% from the same period of time a year ago, according to Comscore.
Box office trackers have spent much of the summer debating whether audiences are tiring of Hollywood franchises after movies including “Men in Black: International” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” disappointed.
One might think “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” starring Tom Holland as the quippy web-slinger, would be vulnerable to so-called franchise fatigue. “Far From Home” is the third Marvel Studios-produced movie to hit theaters this year, following blockbusters “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame.” It’s also the third “Spider-Man” film in as many years, including last year’s animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
And yet, “Far From Home,” which cost $160 million to produce before factoring in marketing costs, has much working in its favor.
The new movie picks up after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” which became the second-highest grossing movie ever, not adjusted for inflation. Audiences responded well to the introduction of Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which enjoyed a three-day opening of $117 million on its way to $880 million in global revenues.
The only other wide release in theaters this weekend is “Midsommar,” the latest critically acclaimed film from indie horror director Ari Aster, which opens Wednesday.
The A24-released movie, about a couple whose idyllic rural retreat in Sweden goes horribly wrong, is expected to gross $8 million to $10 million in its five-day opening weekend. Aster’s previous feature, the well-received “Hereditary” starring Toni Collette, opened with $13.6 million in the U.S. and Canada last June and ended up collecting $79.3 million worldwide.
“Hereditary” is the highest-grossing picture for A24, which has developed a reputation for artistically made horror movies including “The Witch” and “It Comes at Night.” “Midsommar” has received largely positive reviews, drawing comparisons to the 1973 cult film “The Wicker Man.”
THE CHINESE MARKET
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” is already a hit in China, having topped the box office there with $97.2 million last weekend, according to consulting firm Artisan Gateway. The film made its international premiere last weekend before hitting U.S. theaters.
Second place in China went to Studio Ghibli’s release of “Spirited Away,” the beloved Japanese animated fantasy directed by Hayao Miyazaki. “Spirited Away” has earned $54.5 million in China in its first two weeks in release, topping “Toy Story 4,” which has made $24.2 million there, Artisan Gateway said.