Has Marvel Lost Its Touch—or Are Fans Just Tired of Spider-Man?

'Homecoming' dropped 61 percent in its second weekend at the box office

Spider-Man: Homecoming Box Office Jon Watts
Marvel is in talks with director Jon Watts for a sequel. Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment

Marvel is already in talks with Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts about a sequel, according to The Wrap, and that is welcome news for fans. Spider-Man: Homecoming was a faithful adaptation of the Peter Parker character that felt more authentic than previous iterations, thanks to star Tom Holland’s age-appropriate casting. Homecoming is easily the funniest of all the Spidey flicks we’ve gotten, and even if it doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights of the fantastic Spider-Man 2, it’s still one of the most enjoyable films of 2017 thus far.

So how come Homecoming, which opened June 28 to universal acclaim (93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), isn’t an even bigger box office hit? (Asking why a movie that has “only” earned $480 million worldwide isn’t more profitable is like asking why Tony Stark needs 50 different versions of his Iron Man suit. We love excess in this country—so just go with it.)

As The Wrap reports, Homecoming earned $45.2 million in its second weekend, a 61 percent drop from its opening, marking the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s worst second week drop ever. For comparison, the movie-going community lost its collective mind when Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice dropped a staggering 69 percent in its second frame last year. Most Marvel movies typically only drop around 55 percent from the first to second weeks.

Now, the $175 million-budgeted picture is far from a flop. On the contrary, it has already earned more domestically ($208 million) than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 earned stateside in its entire 2014 run ($202 million). Projecting numbers from this point, Forbes’ Scott Mendelson believes Homecoming should settle in around $262 million domestically—more than $120 million less than where Wonder Woman is at right now.

Again, this movie is making money hand over fist. But it’s somewhat surprising it isn’t making a tad more. Spider-Man is and always has been Marvel’s most popular character by far. Adding him to the money-printing MCU and throwing in Robert Downey Jr., whose four previous MCU films all topped $1 billion, seemed like a box office beatdown on paper.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

The likely culprit for Homecoming‘s great-but-not-quite-as-great-as-we-hoped success is Spider-Man himself. Since 2002, we’ve seen five films featuring the wall-crawler (not counting Watts’) and two different actors portray the web-head. As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s $869.5 million earnings this year tells us, Marvel is still very much in demand. But maybe we’ve reached a point of some light Spidey fatigue, which begs the question: Just what in the hell does Watts need to do to meet expectations on a sequel?

Has Marvel Lost Its Touch—or Are Fans Just Tired of Spider-Man?