6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: Can 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Scale $100M in U.S. Launch?
Sony and Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Homecoming should cast a powerful web when swinging into theaters this weekend.
If prerelease tracking is correct, the critically acclaimed reboot should fly past $100 million in North America, although Sony is being more conservative and suggesting $80 million. Spider-Man's sixth outing on the big screen, in this third different franchise, is also opening in numerous overseas locations, roughly 60 percent of the international marketplace.
The big-budget tentpole is a rescue mission for several reasons. Not only does it reboot Sony's marquee superhero franchise at a time when the studio is sorely in need of a box-office win, it comes at a tipping point for the domestic summer box office. In rather worrisome news, box-office revenue has fallen more than 10 percent behind that of 2016 after a string of event films underperformed (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman being the big exceptions).
Sony — which had sole responsibility in guiding the previous five Spider-Man pics — brought on Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios as a producer this time out with the aim of launching a new series of films that will be full-fledged members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony puts the budget of Homecoming at $175 million.
The first Spider-Man, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, opened to a then-record $114.8 million in May 2002, becoming the poster child for the modern-day superhero blockbuster. Likewise, Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) prospered. Sony rebooted the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), with Andrew Garfield donning the iconic red and blue suit, but neither pic matched the might of the first trilogy. The studio subsequently scrapped The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and decided to take a different direction.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts, with rising Brit star Tom Holland playing the iconic comic book hero for a second time after making his debut as the web-slinger in Disney/Marvel's Captain America: Civil War.
The story follows Peter Parker — aka Spider-Man — as he returns from his time with the Avengers and adjusts to his new superhero identity under the watchful eye of his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and new mentor, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). But he's quickly put to the test when the villain Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will host Thursday night previews in 3,450 theaters before expanding into a total of 4,341 locations Friday, including 392 Imax cinemas and 601 premium large-format screens.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the only new nationwide offering this weekend.