Miles Morales as Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has had a swinging start at the box office, opening at more than three times above the 2018 original.
The animated film, which has received strong critical buzz, landed on top of the box office with $8.2 million from 580 screens – the third best opening of the year behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
By comparison, its predecessor, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, opened at $2.6 million on 421 screens five years ago.
IMAX Melbourne GM Richard Morrison tells IF the latest edition exceeded expectations both in terms of box office and admissions.
“The spectacular animation and artistic rendering make Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse a must-see in IMAX,” he says.
“We’ve been really looking forward to screening this film and are thrilled that our audience has responded so positively to it.”
In North America, the animated sequel debuted above predictions at $US120.5 million, similarly ahead of Into the Spider-Verse’s opening of $US35.3 million by 241 per cent. Globally, it stands at $US208.6 million so far.
Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell notes the Australian numbers are a bit lower than the US’s, pro-rata, but argues “that is always the case for super-hero movies initially, and some parents will be holding off for the school holidays in a few weeks.”
The tally for Spider-Man, in combination with The Little Mermaid, Fast X and Guardians 3, helped deliver exhibitors one of the biggest weekends of the year; Numero data puts the top 20 titles at $17.4 million, up 26 per cent on the previous weekend.
“It was indeed a bouyant weekend with lines out the door of crowds wanting to see Spider-Man, The Little Mermaid and John Farnham in particular,” Dell tells IF.
Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari agrees, stating it was its “best trading weekend in quite some time, including our best single day gross on Sunday since Top Gun Maverick was exploding at the box office last year.”
Among the other new releases, Disney horror The Boogeyman, directed by Rob Savage, bowed at no. 5 with $623,083 from 226 screens, or $665,050 with previews.
On the local front, Roadshow opened Jub Clerc’s Sweet As wide on 212 screens to modest results. The coming-of-age tale, which has had a strong run on the festival circuit, landed at no. 10 with $117,128, and with previews and festival screenings, stands at $186,987.
However, Wallis Cinemas programming manager David Simpson believes the film box office opening hurt by lack of promotion, stating: “Sweet As did nothing thanks to zero marketing support in the regions”.
Dell says Sweet As was “never going to take big dollars”, but had hoped it would have started a bit stronger than it has.
“With big movies coming in the next few weeks with long run times it is going to be hard to run a long season, and it is an important movie for our audiences to see,” he says.
Temesvari also noted the film also didn’t find much of an audience at his Sydney venue, “even though it’s a lovely film”.
Of the holdovers, Disney’s The Little Mermaid held well through its sophomore weekend, dropping only 28 per cent to $4.1 million, bringing its tally to $11.4 million. The hold in Australia is much better than in the US/Canada, where it dropped 69 per cent.
Dell’s Majestic Cinemas was among those who found success with the film, stating: “The Little Mermaid held exceptionally well for us, and again should run well right into holidays.”
Universal’s Fast X pulled $1.6 million in its third weekend, driving the Fast & Furious film to $14 million, while Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 brought home $1.3 million in its fourth, moving to $29.3 million.
Local documentary John Farnham: Finding the Voice continues its success story for Sony, crossing the $3 million mark after making $438,904 across its third weekend, a drop of only 33 per cent. Directed by Poppy Stockell, the film is already the highest grossing Australian feature-length documentary of all time.
For Dell, the film was “the real star of the weekend, holding wonderfully”.
“I watched it in Port Macquarie on the weekend in a sold out cinema that absolutely loved it,” he says.
Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie is still entertaining after nine weekends, bringing in an extra $208,785 to move to $51.2 million. The animation hit $US1.3 billion over the weekend at the worldwide box office, making it bigger than Disney’s Frozen.
Fellow Uni title Book Club 2: The Next Chapter rang up $160,635 in its fourth weekend to grow to $3.4 million, followed by stablemate Renfield, which dropped 60 per cent in its second to $122,648, advancing to $520,123 overall.
Of the other Australian titles playing in cinemas, Ivan Sen’s Limbo – in limited release – remains in the top 20 and is holding well, dropping only 36 per cent in its third to $25,160, moving to $182,763.
Madman documentary The Giants took $14,557 in its seventh to advance to $509,301, while Kismet doco Shackleton: The Greatest Story of Survival made $10,909 in its 13th weekend, taking it to $339,219.