Spider-Man: No Way Home smashes through $1bn mark at the box office
The latest instalment of the Spider-Man franchise has become the first pandemic-era movie to make more than $1bn (£750m) at the global box office.
Spider-Man: No Way Home also took the title of highest-grossing film of 2021 as movie-goers steadily returned to their local cinemas..
It beat Chinese-made Korean War epic The Battle of Lake Changjin, which has grossed more than $905m worldwide.
Previously, MGM's latest James Bond movie No Time to Die, which made $774m at the box office globally, was the highest-grossing Hollywood film of both 2021 and the pandemic.
The last movie to gross more than $1bn was 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, according to media data analytics firm Comscore.
No other Hollywood production has come near to reaching that box office milestone since the pandemic began two years ago.
Over the weekend, global box office takings for the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film reached $1.05bn.
The co-production between Sony and Disney hit its milestone less than two weeks after its premiere even as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has spread rapidly around the world, raising fresh concerns about indoor events.
The film has not been released in China, which is currently the world's biggest cinema market.
Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Tom Holland return as the third iteration of Peter Parker alongside Zendaya's MJ and Benedict Cumberbatch as the sorcerer Doctor Strange.
The franchise's 2019 offering Spider-Man: Far From Home was the first in the stable to break the $1bn mark at the box office and is currently the highest-grossing movie in the franchise with $1.132bn in global ticket sales, according to Comscore.
The latest film, a collaboration between the Disney's Marvel Studios and Sony, follows on from Far From Home, in which the villainous Mysterio unmasked Parker before dying.
In 2015, Disney, Marvel Studios, and Sony agreed to share the film rights for Spider-Man, which led to a new iteration of the character being introduced and integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The latest film has been hailed by critics who say it neatly ties up loose ends from previous iterations.
Set in the Marvel Universe, it attempts to unite the Holland era with the previous Spidey-worlds of predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
Variety said director Jon Watts "wrangles the unwieldy premise into a consistently entertaining" blockbuster.
Its writer Peter Debruge praised how the multiverse plot is used to "more fully explore what Peter Parker stands for".
The film follows on from 2019's Far From Home, in which the villainous Mysterio unmasked Parker before dying.
Now fearing for his family and friends with his identity revealed, Parker calls on Marvel's Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, to cast a spell that will reapply his anonymity.
But the plan goes wrong, instead opening a portal to parallel worlds, forcing Holland's Parker to not only face old enemies but also meet his alternative selves.
The return of Garfield and Maguire has been the subject of fevered speculation and anticipation - and repeated denials from those involved. But few people believed them.
Debruge said the former Spider-Men do return with aplomb. The storyline also sees Holland deliver his best performance to date - with his character afforded more depth by being shown struggling to deal with his part in Mysterio's death, he said.
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