By now you’ve watched and read numerous positive reviews on Spider-Man: Homecoming, including mine. It’s a refreshing take on Spider-Man versus the depressing Amazing Spider-Man 2, and we expect great grosses from such a film that proved positive with critics. However, something went wrong. It’s like Venom creeping up behind Spidey, and many comic fans know that Venom is immune to Spider-Man’s spider sense.
The big surprise is that Spider-Man: Homecoming just experienced a huge Friday to Friday drop of 60 to 73 percent, depending on who’s counting. That brings the film’s expected earnings down significantly if it doesn’t recover in the next couple of weeks and could endanger Spider-Man’s continued existence in the MCU. The film is entertaining, it’s set in the MCU, and the critics loved it. It’s like the film’s end credit scenes with Aunt May and Captain America’s PSA. What the $%@?
What could be the problem? Despite being liked by critics, it’s not one of those snobbish, boring Oscar contenders. Is it piracy? Is it the competition? Was it Sony’s Amy Pascal’s ridiculous announcements? Or has superhero fatigue finally caught up on us? Spider-Man: Homecoming is what many Marvel fans have always wanted aside from the return of the Fantastic Four, a Spider-Man solo film in the MCU. Sony is probably working overtime doing research on how to recover and hopefully not rethinking the Marvel deal.
Let’s go over the possibilities. In terms of competition, it is stiff. Spider-Man Homecoming was brushed off the ceiling by apes. War for the Planet of the Apes has garnered good reviews and viewership grossing at 56 million this weekend. Spider-Man Homecoming is at $251 million worldwide according to Boxofficemojo. The competition also includes Despicable Me 3, Baby Driver, The Big Sick and Wonder Woman. Spider-Man has his work cut out for him and if things don’t change, it’s up for the international market to keep with expectations.
How about piracy? Piracy has always been there and has changed little these past couple of years. Security is tight around MCU films unless you live in Russia and South Korea. How about Amy Pascal’s announcements? As far as MCU fans are concerned, Kevin Feige’s nonplussed expression is a hint that Spider-Man’s spinoff films won’t hold much water unless he allows them. But good writers and directors can make a film work no matter how ridiculous the premise or how low the budget. I stand by my opinion that Sony should look into Spider-Woman instead. Anyway, it’s an opportunity to cash in on Wonder Woman’s success.
But what if it’s the one thing we comic book fans are afraid of? Superhero fatigue. Is it a hint why moviegoers flocked to see War for the Planet of the Apes instead? Did moviegoers want to see something different for a change? Perhaps. If I were an average moviegoer who has seen the previous two installments, it would make sense for me to see the third, to see how the story goes. I could always get Spider-Man later on Blu-ray and Marvel can have my money when Thor: Ragnarok comes out. I can’t forget what my uncle said when we were about to screen Captain America: Civil War during a get-together. It’s like he’s seen Captain America multiple times already as he’s referring to The First Avenger, Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier. The common guy is probably sick of seeing Iron Man by now. But I’m not. I want my Iron Man 4 fighting the true Mandarin. RDJ himself said he’ll keep playing the character as long as there are good scripts which would indicate that Iron Man will live through the Infinity War films. It’s kind of selfish to force studios to give us the superhero films we want. We’re still open to other cuisine, yet terrified of the prospect of no longer having MCU films or DCEU films for a long time because the mainstream audiences no longer want them.
We comic book fans can keep watching comic book movies as long as we like, but the suits aren’t so inclined should they see a dropping trend in the popularity of superhero films. They could jump ship anytime or get cold feet if any movie gets the same box office results as DC’s Catwoman. Sony might and concentrate on rom-coms instead, but at least Marvel took things in stride when Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War experienced their own massive box office drops. Marvel lost Joss Whedon though, and now DC may have another female hero blockbuster on their hands in Batgirl.
But it can also be franchise fatigue. Maybe some moviegoers are just tired of reboots or of the character itself. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot of the franchise in fifteen years. It leaves them asking, “Another Spider-Man? Well, there’s always the crossovers.” These viewers would rather watch another film given their limited time and money and catch Spidey for another weekend or just wait on cable. Spider-Man is a great character in itself, if only Sony hasn’t messed up and rebooted the Sam Raimi/Tobey McGuire set of films so soon. I’m one of those moviegoers hesitant to try out Andrew Garfield. I liked him in The Social Network, so I gave Amazing Spider-Man a chance and truly found the films lacking. Amazing Spider-Man 2 is now out there with Elektra, Ang Lee’s Hulk, and Daredevil. Screw Catwoman, I have no Patience for non-multiversal canon name changes. If Catwoman is any indication, Sony should realize that shooting a supporting character film (Venom) without the main character (Spider-Man) has a very slim margin of success.
I personally don’t want to bash Sony for its attempts at good business and hopefully Spider-Man: Homecoming recovers. I admit to having a vested interest in their success with Peter Parker because success means more MCU/Sony films down the pipeline.