The tale of the box office returns for Spider-Man: Homecoming has been a winding and unpredictable one.  Opening weekend was a smash success for the wall-crawler and many were lauding Marvel’s magic touch.  Weekend two, however, was a monumental crash of 63%.  This was particularly noticeable given the amazingly small drop for Wonder Woman mere weeks before.  As the next month played out many pundits wrongly started to doubt the success of the film overall, particularly compared to previous renditions of the character.  For weeks Homecoming was slowing down and stuck permanently between the Webb trilogy and the Raimi trilogy, both in North American and Worldwide box office.

These articles doubting Spidey, however, forgot one major piece.  China did its traditional black-out period and Sony did not manage to air the film before that time.  During this season Chinese authorities only allow movies filmed by Chinese filmmakers and studios to show.  For July and August North American releases this can mean an extended wait to hit the Middle Kingdom.  Such was the case with Homecoming, bowing internationally in early July but not going to China until the second week of September.  So it was really hard to judge just how successful the film was until about know, with the first two weeks of Chinese box office rolling in.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s first weekend it pulled in $69 million and then followed that up with another $15 million in weekend two.  This is a huge fall week to week, but not totally surprising considering the backlog of major blockbusters coming out in China.  Overall it has now passed the $100 million mark in China and that drastically changes the overall outlook of the film, as one might expect.  With those numbers in, Spider-Man: Homecoming is now the 6th highest grossing film of the year and should pass Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for the five spot in a week or so.  (This bums me out merely because I had bet on Guardians doing better in my box office predictions.)  It has taken $861 million globally, with a hefty 62% of that money coming from international markets (i.e. non-North American).  It is also worth noting that the film has blown past Wonder Woman’s international take by almost $50 million dollars.

When many people will look back at this summer, it would be easy to perceive Spider-Man: Homecoming as the bronze medalist of the season.  Both Guardians and Wonder Woman enjoyed larger notoriety and buzz, at least stateside.  But the combination of a late Chinese release and the heavy international to domestic ratio make that perception a little off from reality.  If one merely looks at North America then Homecoming is clearly the third biggest superhero film of the summer but international numbers show that globally Spidey is still supreme.

Looking at the numbers for the Spider-Man franchise, Marvel Studios has ultimately hit a home run there as well.  The domestic take will likely fall a million or two short of Spider-Man 3, but that’s it.  Given the hype for that film and the positive view of the series at the time, this is a major success.  American audiences are still skeptical of the franchise given the uneven nature of the last decade, but this is a solid start.  They also did something Sony never could do on it’s own: produce a movie with a better box office take than it’s predecessor.  After four consecutive films with diminishing returns, Homecoming is trending up.  Globally, the news is even better.  Homecoming is unlikely to become the all-time #1 Spider-Man film worldwide, but it should only miss the number by $10 or 20 million.  Again, the Amazing Spider-Man films struggled to touch the Raimi trilogy, much less beat it.

All in all, China has provided the final push to make this movie the kind of success that Sony hoped for.  With the increased goodwill, a billion dollar Spidey film again seems possible.  All around things are looking up for Peter Parker.

Source: All stats from Box Office Mojo as of the morning of September 2oth

To hear more about this topic and others, check out this week’s Marvel News Desk, the official podcast of MCU Exchange.

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