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'Spider-Man' sequel ‘phenomenal’ for Lakes 12 Theatre

Showings of the latest "Spider-Man" sequel starring Tom Holland as the costumed superhero have been selling out at the Mann Theatres Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter. The new holiday season release and unexpectedly large blockbuster ends a “so-so year” at the box office for movie theater owners.

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MJ (Zendaya) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) jump off a bridge in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." (Matt Kennedy/Sony Pictures/TNS)
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BAXTER — Spider-Man is a hero in more ways than one in his latest big-screen sequel.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was released just in time for Christmas, and movie theater owners like Stephen Mann credit the movie for saving the year from being ho-hum at the box office.

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"Spider-Man: No Way Home" stars Tom Holland taking on various Spider-Man villains from past movies. The new release is playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

“The best way to describe it is phenomenal. It's the third-largest opening in the entire history of any film,” said Mann, CEO of Mann Theatres, which owns the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.

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The Sony picture wildly exceeded box office expectations, grossing $253 million from 4,336 theaters in North America as of Sunday, Dec. 19, a few days after its debut solely in theaters.

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Stephen Mann is the chief executive officer of Mann Theatres, which owns the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter. Submitted photo / Mann Theatres

“So when you consider that we're still, you know, dealing with COVID, and, you know, the new various strains and everything else, 20 million people in the U.S. came up to see it this weekend,” Mann said Wednesday.

Evenings showings at the Lakes 12 Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 16, when the film began playing practically sold out with hardly an empty seat to be found at the Baxter theater’s auditoriums.


"It's a big surprise to everybody in the industry, it really is."

— Stephen Mann


Mann said the picture is on its way to grossing a billion dollars between its domestic and overseas ticket sales.

“That's just unbelievable,” Mann said of ticket sales for “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

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RELATED: Now showing at Lakes 12 Theatre and Sunset Cinema
The Marvel Comics sequel was by far the best domestic opening weekend turnout of any feature film in pandemic times. No other COVID-era film before this weekend surpassed even $100 million in a single weekend.

“Well, we didn't think it was going to be this big, let's put it that way. The prediction last week was we were going to be very, very pleased if it did $150 million in three days,” Mann said.

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The Lakes 12 Theatre is located at 14145 Baxter Drive in Baxter near the Westgate Mall. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

On its very first day of release, the sequel made $121 million alone, in part because fans of the costumed superhero wanted to be among the first to watch the movie and avoid online spoilers.

“It's a big surprise to everybody in the industry, it really is,” Mann said. “It broke all kinds of records, you know, opening-day record and three-day record, and this record and that record.”

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Movie patrons continue to file into one of the auditoriums at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter for a Monday, Dec. 20, evening showing of the blockbuster "Spider-Man: No Way Home" even though the best rows of seats have filled up. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

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“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has collected $334.2 million from 60 international markets for a worldwide total of $587.2 million. It ranks as the third-biggest worldwide opening weekend ever behind “Avengers: Endgame” ($1.2 billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($640 million).

“You know, really, this is an unheard number. It's an unheard number, whether it's pre-COVID or whether it's during COVID, so you know what my takeaway from this is? If you have a movie that people want to see, they'll come out regardless of COVID,” Mann said.

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Steven Spielberg's new remake of the beloved movie musical "West Side Story" failed to make a big splash at the box office. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

Other splashy recent new releases such as the remake of the movie musical “West Side Story” by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, however, did not do so well at the box office.

Mann said people in the industry think it's gonna come back during Christmas as it's the kind of film people see with their family.

“But, you know, it is what it is,” Mann said. “And it's a disappointment — no question.”

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Mann predicts the No. 1 movie in America come Christmas will still be “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and the No. 2 movie will be “Sing 2,” a new release this week and a sequel to the computer-animated musical comedy about animals singing popular hits.

“The buzz on ‘Sing 2’ is very, very strong,” Mann said. “We did some early screenings on ‘Sing 2’ down here in the Cities … and we sold them out in a day.”

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The Lakes 12 Theatre ticket counter remained busy during the opening weekend for the blockbuster sequel "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

New releases heated up the summer box office, with “A Quiet Place Part II” scaring up some big numbers for a sequel released in May following the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We're certainly much stronger than we were in 2020. But we're not as strong as we were in 2019,” Mann said. “You still got the COVID going on, so we're looking forward to 2022.”

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MJ (Zendaya) catches a ride from Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." JoJo Whilden/Sony

Theater operators nationwide hope box office revenues continue to climb as more Americans are vaccinated, but the omicron variant could throw a wrench in those expectations.

“The film lineup in 2022 is very, very strong. I think the strongest picture — my own personal opinion — of 2022 will be the ‘Top Gun’ sequel,” Mann said. “It's the most talked-about picture that we get emails on and calls on and that kind of thing.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” was supposed to be released this year but was pushed back several times by the studio hoping for a better audience turnout at movie theaters.

“It's been moved back twice, of course. But, you know, it's just that general, good all-around picture that people want to see similar to Spider-Man,” Mann said. “And that's why I think we'll certainly exceed ‘21, which we hope we do because ‘21 is just a very so-so year.”

RELATED: Local movie theaters reopening despite dark times

New releases this week at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter include “A Journal for Jordan,” “The King’s Man,” “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Sing 2.”

“We’ll see how it ends up with the holidays,” Mann said of box office revenues for the year. “It can make a huge difference — believe it or not — the last two weeks of December, so, you know, we'll see because we've got quite a few films opening.”

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

Related Topics: MOVIESCORONAVIRUS
I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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