Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse smashed industry projections, delivering one of the best openings of the year, animated or otherwise, and reaffirming the strength of animation at the box office.
In the U.S., Spider-Verse earned an estimated $120.5 million from 4,313 theaters for a stellar $27,938 per-theater average. If the figure holds when final numbers are released, that would give Spider-Verse the eighth-best all-time domestic opening for an animated feature.
A little context for this opening that makes the figure even more impressive: no Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) film has ever cracked the top 50 for U.S. animated openings. The previous highest-grossing opening for a SPA film was Hotel Transylvania 2, which launched with $48.4m in 2015. Even the remarkably successful first installment of Spider-Verse debuted with a modest $35.3m in 2018. A $100m+ launch puts Sony in rarefied company; only four other studios have managed the feat: Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and Illumination.
Equally notable: Across the Spider-Verse is the first animated feature that SPA has released into theaters since 2019’s The Angry Birds Movie 2. The studio’s following four features were released straight to streaming: The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Wish Dragon, and Vivo went to Netflix while Hotel Transylvania: Transformania ended up as a Prime Video release. If there was any doubt about whether a streaming-first strategy could hurt a studio’s return to theatrical, Spider-Verse’s performance should dispel any such concerns.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers , and Justin K. Thompson, Across the Spider-Verse garnered rave reviews, though as we recently saw with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, reviews have little impact on animation box office performance. Audiences turn out for IP, and there’s not many that are currently bigger than Marvel. It didn’t hurt that audiences enjoyed the film too, giving it an A Cinemascore (Into the Spider-Verse had an A+) and 82% definite recommendation from Comscore PostTrak’s exit polling.
The film also benefitted from a mega-marketing campaign. Industry trade Deadline has a detailed rundown of the film’s marketing efforts, which included partnerships with Fortnite, ESPN, Burger King, Hyundai, and Nike. Also notable was a “Spider Society Ambassador Program” that involved over two hundred celebrities and influencers, including Bad Bunny, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Curry, Rihanna, Beyonce, Tiffany Haddish, and Priyanka and Nick Jonas.
The #2 at the domestic box office was Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the hybrid remake of the modern animated classic. The film grabbed an estimated $40.6m in its second weekend for a running total $186.2m total.
Spider-Verse also launched in 59 markets internationally, pulling $88.1 million from abroad. Top markets were China ($17.3m), Mexico ($11.6m), and the U.K. ($11.5m). The film has yet to open in some major territories including Japan and South Korea. Total global haul for the film’s first weekend, including domestic, was $208.6m.
One more box office note: NBCUniversal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie earned $11.7m globally over the weekend, lifting its global total to $1.30 billion and making it the third-highest-grossing animated film of all time, ahead of Disney’s Frozen at $1.29 billion. The only two animated films that have grossed more than Super Mario: the cg The Lion King remake ($1.66 billion) and Frozen II ($1.45 billion).