Bond 25 questions: 007 vs. Spidey at the box office

“What? We’re not No. 1 anymore?”

To be honest, it seemed as if No Time to Die had secured the title of No. 1 film at the global box office among non-Chinese movies. Yes, Spider-Man No Way Home was expected to do very well. But it had a Dec. 17 release date.

Surely, the 25th James Bond film would hold on for the end of calendar 2021. Well, no. Spider-Man No Way Home has passed the $1 billion global box office mark.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What happened with No Time to Die?

It’s going to finish 2021 as the No. 2 global film (behind Spider-Man No Way Home) among non-Chinese movies. So that’s not a flop.

However, a significant development was how No Time to Die’s U.S. box office performance didn’t match relatively recent Bond films.

In the U.S., No Time to Die generated $160.8 million at the box office, coming in at (00)7 for the year. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But Bond in the U.S. lagged the rest of the globe.

By contrast, 2012’s Skyfall produced a box office of $304.4 million while 2015’s SPECTRE had $200.1 million. And those figures don’t take into account higher movie ticket prices.

No Time to Die, of course, had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in three delays in the film’s release date.

OK, but why did Spider-Man do so well?

Spider-Man No Way Home wasn’t just a single Spidey movie. It was an epic.

The thing to compare the Spider-Man movie to is 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. The latter was a de facto Avengers movie. The centerpiece was multiple Marvel characters (one side led by Cap, the other side led by Iron Man) slugging it out.

Spider-Man No Way Home includes one Marvel character (Dr. Strange) with another (not naming him here to avoid spoilers) making a cameo. Villains from previous Spider-Man films make an appearance. And there are major developments that occur.

Anything else to keep in mind?

Spider-Man is part of a large universe of characters. Bond is the centerpiece of a smaller universe.

One more thing: Spider-Man debuted in 1962, the same year that the Bond film series made by Eon Productions began. Spidey is hardly an edgy creation that came out of left field. Like Bond, Spider-Man has been popular for decades.