Spider-Man is once again the friendly neighborhood hero of the box office.
On Friday, Sony and Marvel Studios’ critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Homecoming swung to a heroic $50.5 million from 4,341 theaters for a projected $120 million-$125 million weekend. If that estimate holds, the $175 million tentpole will pass up Wonder Woman ($103.3 million) to snag the third-best North American opening of the year to date behind Beauty and the Beast ($174.8 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million).
Friday’s haul included $15.4 million in Thursday previews.
Nabbing an A CinemaScore from audiences, the best grade of the franchise, Homecoming also boasts a 94 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sony aggressively went after younger moviegoers, and it paid off: Half of ticket buyers on Friday were 25 and younger, a strong showing. Males made up roughly 61 percent of the audience.
Homecoming is a major victory for the studio, which was forced to put the marquee superhero franchise on ice after reboots The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to match the glory days of the original Spider-Man film trilogy. The studio, which had sole responsibility in guiding the first five films, brought on Disney’s Marvel Studios as producing partner this time with ambitions of making a new series of movies that are members of the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts, with young British star Tom Holland playing the iconic comic book hero (Holland first made his debut as the web slinger last year in Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War). Michael Keaton stars as the villain Vulture in Homecoming, with Robert Downey Jr. appearing as Iron Man. Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Donald Glover and Tyne Daly also star.
Homecoming is opening ahead of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) — adjusted for inflation or not — but won’t match the first three pics when adjusting numbers for inflation.
Sony reports strong business overseas, where Homecoming is opening in 60 percent of the marketplace. Numbers will be released Sunday.
In North America, the superhero movie is the only new nationwide offering. Among holdovers, Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 3 is tipped to gross $37 million in its sophomore outing for a domestic total north of $152 million through Sunday. Globally, the pic jumped the $300 million mark on Friday after debuting to $20.1 million in China, the biggest opening day of all time for an animated title.
Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver — another win for Sony — Wonder Woman and Transformers: The Last Knight will round out the top five. At the specialty box office, Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick continues to impress, moving into the top 10 as it expands from 71 theaters to 326 location in its third weekend.