Across The Spider-Verse Swings Past Guardians 3 As The Biggest Summer Hit At The Domestic Box Office


In a summer where several high-profile franchise films have fallen well short of expectations, we get to talk about a couple of movies that have done very well. In this case, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," which has far exceeded any and all expectations. The sequel now ranks as the biggest hit of the summer at the domestic box office, overtaking "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." However, this is really a situation where we don't have to knock one down to raise the other, as both of these movies have truly done big business.

Over the weekend, "Across the Spider-Verse" added another $8 million in its sixth weekend in theaters domestically. That gives it a new total of $357.64 million in North America, compared to the $357.57 million put up by "Guardians 3," per Box Office Mojo. That makes Spidey's latest big screen adventure the biggest hit of the summer in the U.S. The only movie to make more domestically in 2023 was "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," which sits at $573.7 million. So it's not even really all that close.

Worldwide, the picture changes a bit. To date, James Gunn's finale to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" trilogy has earned $839.8 million worldwide, making it the second-largest global grosser behind "Mario" ($1.34 billion). Meanwhile, "Spider-Verse" sits in fourth place with $642.2 million worldwide, just behind "Fast X" ($702.9). That said, it would not be remotely surprising if Spider-Man swings past the latest "Fast and Furious" movie in the coming weeks to take the number three spot, as the film has held incredibly well week-to-week since it debuted in early June to more than $120 million. So it's been going quite well for Sony with the animated superhero sequel.

The two big winners of the summer

The fact of the matter is that both of these films have gone a long way in making sure the summer movie season wasn't a total bust. As I've discussed quite a bit in recent weeks, movies like "The Flash," "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," and to a lesser degree, "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" have disappointed relative to expectations in a pretty big way. Granted, much of that has to do with the fact that those movies were tremendously (and some could argue irresponsibly) expensive to make. But the result is the same, where a studio ends up on the wrong side of a profit/loss statement.

Sony, on the other hand, kept the budget for its "Into the Spider-Verse" sequel very reasonable, in the $100 million range. Thanks to outstanding word of mouth, and the love the original 2018 garnered, they found themselves on the right side of a big, breakout sequel that is bringing families out to theaters and will make the studio a lot of money. It's a well-rounded win and the way it should work when a blockbuster film delivers the goods.

Similarly, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" was well-reviewed and promised to bring a conclusion of sorts to a franchise that audiences really liked. Gunn delivered on the promise and audiences turned up as word of mouth was good. Yes, this one was on the expensive side, with the budget said to be in the $250 million range, but we were dealing with a proven franchise from a filmmaker who consistently turns in a quality product. It panned out. Now Warner Bros. just has to hope that Gunn can do the same with "Superman: Legacy."

For now, Spider-Man gets to take a victory lap, but honestly, everybody wins when good movies make money. That's what's happening here, and that should be celebrated.

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