New ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Trailer Arrives Right On Time
After months and months of false rumors, idle speculation and obsessive fan demands, the second Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer has debuted... exactly on schedule. Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife opens in two days. It makes 104% sense for Sony to have waited until this big/important theatrical release to offer up the second (and presumably final) trailer for their year-end Christmas season tentpole. Sure, Eternals opened two weeks ago, but Sony instead offered up, Morbius as the marketing ramp-up for the Disney Marvel flick. They wanted to save their big-deal Marvel sequel for their own movie’s pre-release promotion, because that’s just how this stuff has worked since the beginning of time. If more “fans” knew that, they’d save us all a lot of frustration.
When did the first Dark Knight Rises trailer debut? Along with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. When did the first Speed 2: Cruise Control trailer debut? In March 1997 alongside Return of the Jedi: Special Edition. Sure, some big movies will drop their first teaser before another studio’s 1,600 lbs-gorilla release, as has been the case with the next summer’s tentpoles starting up alongside the release of that year’s Christmas biggie. Yes, Spider-Man 2’s teaser debuted with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Iron Man 2’s teaser premiered in tandem with Avatar. However, barring such circumstances, the most obvious choice (The Dark Knight beginning its pre-release marketing on the opening weekend of I Am Legend) is the correct choice.
As always, I will argue that this trailer is not for “you.” It’s a general audience sell, one pitched at folks who might happen to see it in theaters this weekend while taking their kids to Ghostbusters: Afterlife and thus will be clued into to the existence of a mid-December Spider-Man sequel. No, I don’t know how much general audiences care about villains (Willem Dafoe, Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina among others) and heroes (Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who do not show up here, at least not explicitly) from previous Spider-Man franchises teaming up with the MCU’s Tom Holland/Peter Parker, but if the movie works as singular popcorn entertainment that doesn’t rely on its cameos and multiverse nostalgia as a crutch then that will be immaterial.
Is it possible that making essentially a live-action Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a mistake in terms of believing the obsessive fandom to represent general audiences or mistaking that film’s appeal in being rooted in multiple Spider-Man figures bouncing around as opposed to audiences gravitating toward Miles Morales and his heartfelt journey? Maybe, but if so then maybe No Way Home, which sees Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange teaming up with Peter Parker to undo a multiverse mess of their own making, might have to settle for making “most of the money” this Christmas instead of “all the money.” Or perhaps the cameos and Easter Eggs are mere seasoning instead of the main course, and Jon Watts’ flick works as a Peter Parker passion play.
We’ll find out in a month. If it works, then Spider-Man: No Way Home has a shot at being this year’s biggest-grossing film in North America (past the $225 million cume of Shang-Chi), the biggest-grossing Hollywood release overseas (ahead of wherever No Time to Die ends up (around $610 million in foreign grosses), the biggest Hollywood global grosser (again, past No Time to Die’s likely over/under $760 million cume) and the biggest overall global grosser (past The Battle at Lake Changjin’s $885 million cume, plus whatever it earns outside of China). That it’s getting a Chinese release (where Venom earned $269 million in 2018 and Far from Home earned $199 million in 2019) won’t hurt.
It has the best shot of anything in the last two years of passing $1 billion worldwide, possibly even besting the $1.073 billion cume of The Rise of Skywalker and Joker (but not the $1.45 billion cume of Frozen II). But first it merely has to work well enough over the leggy holiday season alongside Sing 2 and Matrix: Resurrections to top China’s three-hour Korean War epic. That seems doable. No Time to Die’s overseas muscle suggests an overseas marketplace that is closer to normal than ever before, while Shang-Chi and Venom 2’s domestic earnings suggest a business-as-usual domestic total. Fingers-crossed for a happy ending to phase two of the great theatrical recovery when Spider-Man: No Way Home opens on December 17, 2021.