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'Spider-Man' continues lifting an anemic N.America box office

(AFP)

After rescuing Hollywood from otherwise paltry year-end numbers, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” continued to soar this weekend, leading the North American box office with an estimated take of $33 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.

Sony’s superhero sequel has now accumulated worldwide ticket sales of $1.42 billion in four weeks out, helping brighten a mostly pallid picture for the Covid-slammed industry. Its domestic gross of $669 million places it sixth all-time, surpassing “Titanic” and “Jurassic World.”

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The domestic box office in November and December was down 32 percent from the 2019 period, said David Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. He described the industry’s overall picture as “mostly wreckage” — except for “Spider-Man,” whose earnings accounted for 46 percent of the total.

With Covid-19 surging, older moviegoers and families remain hesitant to return to theaters.

So even the results of Universal’s animated musical “Sing 2” — second for the weekend at $12 million — were considered disappointing. Its worldwide take is down 68 percent from “Sing 1,” Gross said, whereas such second-episode animation sequels generally drop just 8 percent.

Also seen as disappointing were the results for Universal’s new “The 355,” which placed third but took in just $4.8 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period.

Analysts said the female-led spy thriller — starring Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Lupita Nyong’o — suffered from weak reviews and continuing hesitation by older female moviegoers.

Fourth spot went to 20th Century’s “The King’s Man,” at $3.3 million. The “Kingsman” prequel stars Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans and Matthew Goode.

In fifth was “American Underdog” from Lionsgate, at $2.4 million. Zachary Levi stars in the crowd-pleasing true story of Kurt Warner, the onetime grocery store worker who became a National Football League MVP.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“The Matrix: Resurrections” ($1.9 million)

“West Side Story” ($1.4 million)

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” ($1.1 million)

“Licorice Pizza” ($1 million)

“House of Gucci” ($632,000)

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