They want pictures of Spider-Man. Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” earned $51.75 million on Friday from 4,313 locations, a figure that includes some $17.35 million in Thursday previews. That’s the largest opening day of the year so far, inching past the $48.1 million earned by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
The animated superhero adventure is already outpacing its projections of an $80 million-or-so opening heading into the weekend, with the film now looking to thwip together a $113 million debut through Sunday.
The original 2018 “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” performed closer to a traditional animated release, opening to $35 million domestically before legging out a $190 million haul through the holiday season. This new sequel has the momentum of a smash summer blockbuster though, looking to more than triple the debut of its predecessor. The $51.75 million figure marks the third-highest opening day of all-time for an animated release. The film is also getting a boost from ticket sales for premium format auditoriums like Imax.
That massive step-up in box office draw can be attributed to spectacular buzz. “Into the Spider-Verse” finished its theatrical run with roughly $375 million worldwide, but it earned raves from critics and audiences for its striking, form-bending animation and modern comedic punch. The film rode that wave all the way to the Oscars, becoming the first comic book adaptation to win the Academy Award for best animated feature.
After growing its following over nearly five years, the “Spider-Verse” franchise has finally unleashed its sequel to an eager audience. Reviews are positive across the board once again, with a 95% approval rating from top critics on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences are also on board, as indicated by the “A” grade assigned by ticket buyers through research firm Cinema Score.
In Variety, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman extended some superlative praise, writing that “the film advances the story into newly jacked-up realms of wow-ness that make it a genuine spiritual companion piece to the first film. That one spun our heads and then some; this one spins our heads even more.”
“Across the Spider-Verse” features returning cast members Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy and Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker as the trio of arachnoid vigilantes journey between dimensions once again. New characters include Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac), Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), Spider-Man India (Karan Soni) and Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya). A sequel, “Beyond the Spider-Verse,” is due out in March 2024.
The next three slots on domestic charts went to a group of Disney releases. The studio’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” earned $11.8 million on Friday, down roughly 69% from its opening day last week. The underwater musical looks to add roughly $40 million in its sophomore outing, pushing its domestic total to about $186 million. That’d set the same pace as the 2019 remake of “Aladdin,” which earned $185 million across its first 10 days of release and ended with $355 million in North America.
“The Boogeyman,” a new horror release from Disney’s 20th Century Studios banner, earned $4.8 million on Friday. The monster-under-the-bed thriller is looking at an opening in the low eight-figures — not the strongest result given its $35 million production budget, but already more than it would’ve made if the film had released directly on Hulu as originally slated. Positive test screenings led 20th Century to pivot to a theatrical rollout.
Adapted from Stephen King’s 1973 short story of the same name, “The Boogeyman” stars Chris Messina, Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair as a father and two daughters grappling with the death of the family matriarch — as well as an unwelcome house guest. Hint: it’s the Boogeyman. Rob Savage directed the feature.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is looking at another solid hold, adding $2.9 million on Friday with projections around $10 million for the three-day frame. Now in its fifth weekend of release, the Marvel trilogy capper has earned more than $300 million at the domestic box office and $750 million worldwide.
Universal’s “Fast X” continues to show diminished returns in North America, facing a 61% drop in its third weekend for a $9 million haul. The vehicular vigilante ensemble piece will push its domestic total to $128 million through Sunday, slightly outpacing its predecessor “F9,” though that film released in 2021 during the first few months of box office recovery after COVID lockdowns. “Fast X” is performing much stronger overseas, with almost 80% of its $524 million global gross coming from international markets.