As of this moment, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming is the lowest-grossing Spider-Man movie on the global box office charts. Lower than the two Amazing Spider-Man movies, which were so poorly received, they prompted Sony to strike a deal with Marvel and share the character. And far lower than the original Sam Raimi trilogy that first brought the web-slinger to the silver screen. Homecoming can, and will, add to its overall $635.3M international cume, but it has a ways to go before it even bests the $709M posted by The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or the $757M of Marc Webb’s first movie.
So what the hell happened? By all accounts, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a home run, a spectacular fresh start for the teenage Marvel hero and a fantastic addition to the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film currently boasts a whopping 92% Fresh on the review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, which puts it into the upper echelon of both Spidey movies and MCU movies. The film opened very strong in July, and has posted better domestic numbers that the Webb movies — so at least that’s a victory.
But on an international level, Spider-Man: Homecoming has struggled, and while we’re puzzled by the film’s international reception, there are reasons that can be highlighted as the cause in the lower-than-expected numbers. For one, Spider-Man fatigue could (and must) be real. As was repeated frequently in the run up to Homecoming, this is the sixth Spider-Man movie since 2002, and the third actor bringing Peter Parker to the big screen. Audiences also just saw the character in action in Captain America: Civil War, so there could have been an air of “too soon” to plunk down cash at the box office for Spidey tickets.
It’s not just Spider-Man fatigue. Superhero fatigue could be a factor, as Spider-Man: Homecoming is the third superhero film to reach theaters this summer, the fourth to reach theaters this year (after Logan dropped earlier in 2017), and the second MCU film to try to attract audience members (after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Additionally, Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives on the heels of a cultural game-changer in Wonder Woman, which revitalized DC and captured the imagination and wonder of casual moviegoers, making it very possible that ticket buyers deciding what to see chose a repeat screening of Patty Jenkins’ blockbuster over yet another Spider-Man movie — good as Homecoming is.
The part that we find so funny is that, when the Amazing Spider-Man movies underperformed (by industry standards), the drum beat of “give Spidey back to Marvel” was deafening. Sony obliged, and Marvel helped the studio create a fantastic Spider-Man film that truly felt like an organic return to the character’s comic-book roots. Tom Holland has been universally praised as a wonderful Peter AND Spidey. Michael Keaton gave the MCU another well-rounded villain, something the MCU often overlooks. And the presence of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) provided just enough Marvel star power to keep Homecoming shining bright in the MCU galaxy.
So why didn’t more people come?
According to BoxOfficeMojo, the latest Spider-Man movie has yet to open in China, and that market could give Homecoming a much-needed boost. But it won’t climb to the levels held by MCU blockbusters like the Guardians movies or the Avengers films. Creatively, the film succeeded in bringing Spider-Man fully into the MCU, establishing his small corner of he universe and prepping him for Avengers: Infinity War. But after the reviews started dropping, we all felt that this movie was primed to break out big at the box office, and that hasn’t exactly happened yet.
What do you think happened? Why is Spider-Man: Homecoming doing OK in the States, but less-than-stellar overseas? Weigh in below with your comments.