‘Spider-Man’ closes theaters’ tough 2021 as No. 1 for third week

MJ (Zendaya) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) jump off a bridge in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." (Matt Kennedy/Sony Pictures/TNS)
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Brian Eckhouse Bloomberg News (TNS)

The mega-hit “Spider-Man: No Way Home” held onto its perch atop the North American box office for a third weekend, helping theater owners close out a difficult 2021 on a positive note.

“No Way Home,” from Sony Group and Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel division, generated $52.7 million over the weekend in the U.S. and Canada, according to estimates Sunday by Sony. That was in line with the $52.5 million projection of Boxoffice Pro.

For all of 2021, North American theaters brought in box office sales of about $4.5 billion, Comscore Inc. estimates, a big jump from 2020’s pandemic-shriveled tally of $2.28 billion but just a fraction of the $11 billion-plus in a normal year.

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While the latest COVID-19 variant poses a risk to the industry’s recovery, domestic ticket sales could double next year to about $9.6 billion, according to Bloomberg Intelligence and Boxoffice Pro, buoyed by a “packed slate” of pictures.

“Spider-Man” demonstrated that a well-reviewed big-budget movie will bring fans back to theaters in large numbers. It surpassed the $1 billion mark globally after two weeks of release, making it the biggest film of 2021.

January ushers in a new season for cinemas: prestige films that debuted in late December, movies that only got limited release that month and pictures that aren’t intended for awards consideration. They include the latest “Scream” movie from Paramount Pictures and a “Sesame Street” release from Warner Bros.

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