While expectations were high for the opening weekend of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” no one anticipated that it would garner $260 million at the box office, especially in light of pandemic concerns. It’s the second largest opening weekend of any film in history, and the first to surpass the $100 million mark for an opening weekend since the start of the pandemic.

By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Expectations for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” were huge, even with pandemic concerns. But no one anticipated just how well the film would do in its opening weekend. The finale of the Tom Holland trilogy garnered $260 million in North American theaters over the weekend. That beat the Sunday estimates of $253 million. “No Way Home” has now surpassed “Avengers: Infinity War” ($257 million) and become the second-biggest debut in Hollywood history behind only “Avengers: Endgame” ($357 million). Internationally, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” captured $340.8 million from 60 overseas markets, pushing its global tally to $600.8 million. It stands as the third-biggest worldwide launch ever after “Avengers: Endgame” ($1.2 billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($640 million).

Before this weekend, since the start of the pandemic,  no film had surpassed $100 million in a single weekend. Sony’s sequel, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” generated $90 million. But a massive advertising campaign, coupled with the return of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and Electro (Jamie Foxx), pushed the Jon Watts-directed “No Way Home” to  unexpected heights. On Friday alone, the film collected $121 million, which is more than than Holland’s previous Parker ventures, 2017’s “Homecoming ($117 million debut) and 2019’s “Far From Home” ($92 million debut), collected in their respective opening weekends.

“No Way Home” amassed another $73 million on Saturday and $64 million on Sunday, with premium large formats like Imax accounting for a sizable chunk of ticket sales. After only three days in cinemas, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is already the highest grossing-film of this year — and last year.

AMC Theatres, the world’s biggest exhibition chain, sold a record seven million tickets over the weekend while notching several company benchmarks in the process, including the biggest December opening of all time and post-reopening domestic attendance records. AMC says that for the first time since December 2019, when “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” hit the big screen, the movie theater chain has sold at least 1 million tickets each day between Thursday and Sunday.

“Historically, December is one of the biggest months of the year for major blockbuster releases, so to see ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ set a new all-time opening weekend box office record this month is significant not just for AMC, but for the entire theatrical industry,” Adam Aron, AMC’s chairman and CEO, said. “We commend our friends at Sony Pictures and Marvel on their wonderfully successful movie, which millions of people have already watched at a U.S. AMC theatre in just four days.”