‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’ Conquers Superhero Fatigue At No. 3 In Deadline’s 2023 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament

Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament is back. While studios during Covid wildly embraced the theatrical day-and-date model when cinemas were closed, they soon realized there’s nothing more profitable than a theatrical release and the downstreams that come with it. If anything, theatrical is the advertisement for a movie’s longevity in subsequent home entertainment windows. Entering the conversation in 2023 were the streamers, such as Apple, who have also realized the necessity of theatrical to eventize their movies. The financial data pulled together here for Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament is culled by seasoned and trusted sources.


Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Sony/Columbia Pictures

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When it comes to superhero movies sidestepping their demise at the box office, Spider-Man: Across the Universe is Exhibit A. It was by far the most successful superhero movie of last year, and pristine proof that they’re not dead. As for how to make sure the genre survives, it’s evident: Make movies that are better than the cookie-cutter MCU and DC versions we’ve already seen, and make them significantly different. The animated multiverse escapades of Miles Morales continue to be the ultimate trip for moviegoers, who swung to Across the Universe with an A CinemaScore. The Oscar-winning first movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, also was a holiday blockbuster ($190.2M domestic, $384.2M WW in 2018); its fans were starving for a follow-up, and Sony created pent-up demand. Of utmost importance is that Sony didn’t rush this toon penned by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who also produced with Amy Pascal, into theaters. The movie originally was intended to be in theaters on October 7, 2022, but was held up by the Covid-created post-production logjam for with feature films and streaming series. Still, Sony wowed exhibitors at CinemaCon 2022 with early footage, even though it was delaying the sequel to June 2, 2023. When the movie world premiered in LA’s Westwood, below-the-line talent from the film said that it was a wet print, many working on it to the very last minute. All of this speaks to the great artistry and craft invested in this avant-garde feature toon style, which involves character lighting (it’s not roto-scoping, even though many bill the style as that). Spider-Man: Across the Universe clocked the second-best domestic opening of 2023 with $120.6MM (behind only Barbie‘s $162M), which was 3.4 times higher than the first movie’s $35.3M stateside opening. And Across the Spider-Verse, unlike Sony’s recent live-action movies starring Tom Holland and Zendaya, was made without the fingerprints of Disney’s MCU. With a profit of $328M, Spider-Man: Across the Universe‘s gravy is higher than the $200M profit made by the 2017 Tom Holland-Zendaya live-action Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it’s not far from the $339M net profit of the 2019 sequel Spider-Man: Far From Home.



P&A at $90M global was low here given the myriad global brand partners that included Hyundai (unheard-of for a car to partner with an animated movie), Burger King and Nike/Jordan Brand, which merged its iconic style with Miles Morales. Partners spent over $20 million in outdoor media around the world. The brand partners also created animated content for their ads. Filmmakers and Hyundai design teams teamed to create and integrate future mobility systems in the film’s 2099 Nueva York and depict a flying version of Hyundai Motors’ Prophecy concept EV for the film. Burger King created a Spider-Verse meal featuring a red bun with black seeds and transformed six locations around the globe into the Spider-Verse world, including fully re-theming select locations. A partnership with Amazon entailed a Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Alexa Theme Pack, in which Miles Morales dropped into the “Alexa-verse.” Once enabled on an Alexa device, the Spider-Verse theme pack featured customized prompts with Spidey-related responses, visuals and audio bites from the movie; a 3D Miles Morales avatar; an AR video called Spider-Man Mask; and a scan-for-tickets QR function. Low residuals as it’s an animated film. The $160M streaming revenue includes monies from Sony’s Netflix pay-one deal. What will rank as the most profitable movie in Deadline’s 2023 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament? Is it The Super Mario Bros. Movie or Barbie?

RELATED: ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’ Review: An Expansive, Complex, And Colorful Web of Destiny For Miles Morales

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