Box Office: Spider-Man still tops Sing and Scream

The mid-January box office is still dominated by Spider-Man, a triumph we may one day recognise as a sheer lack of decent competition.
spider-Man holds onto car roof over lake.

This week the total returns from the top ten films was $8.34 million. In the equivalent week of 2020, just weeks before the pandemic, that total was $22 million. 

The Australian films seem to be running in special cinemas with a huge neon sign outside the door that says, ‘Covid Definitely All Over the Seats’. I’m Wanita is down to one screen, made $88 over the weekend and has banked $15,000. Nitram ditto, for $57, though it has made $478,000 altogether.

Gold, in week two, lost 11 screens. The five no-one remembered to turn off made $1,700 to reach a total of $12,000.

We know it is on Stan and advertised as such, so exhibitors are returning it with another sign, this one reading ‘Poisoned Before Delivery’.

Read: Why we like Gold and why you will too eventually

The mainstream pictures

Australians have voted with their tickets to show us just what they like. Spider-Man: No Way Home is still defiantly at number one after six weeks, which is far wider than the cult market. It has made $78.76 million so far and still took $2.15 million in a single weekend. 

Sing 2 is second after five weeks, with $15.73 million tucked in its pockets, and $1.22 million for the weekend, down a mere 2%.

Scream 5, in week two, has made just under $4 million, and $1.17 million for the weekend. Those are cult figures.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is at number 4 after four weeks, with $9.42 million and $758,000 last weekend. That looks much better than the original Ghostbusters which made $16.5 million in 1984. However, a slinky adjustment for inflation gives us a real value of $52 million, while Ghostbusters 2 collected $9.6 million. So, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is doing well. They are all Christmas films, by the way.

Frock film House of Gucci, which is really a crime story, is doing well with $6.87 million in four weeks, spy story The King’s Man has $3.84 million in three weeks, tennis picture King Richard has $1.52 million in two weeks and Clifford the Big Red Dog has $4.11 million in four. West Side Story continues its minor career with $2.84 million in five. 

There are two interesting launches. Spencer, about the Diana saga, arrived on 297 screens to take $400,000 on the first weekend. Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley on 301 screens, made $515,000 in direct competition. Two different kinds of loyalty. 

Read: Nightmare Alley is a film noir nightmare with impeccable cred

Read: Box office for last weekend


The eagle-eyed Patrick Frater in Variety points out that The Matrix: Resurrections has made $16 million over two weekends in China, though it collapsed under the weight of local films launching in the lead-up to the Lunar New Year due on February 1. While everyone else basically hides from the pandemic, Embrace Again took top slot for this week, with almost $200 million since December 23.

The UK meanwhile has embraced Spider-Man with the second highest total in the world. With $165 million over the last six weeks, it added $4.4 million over the weekend, to just pip the launch of Belfast, about Kenneth Branaugh’s childhood. Spoiler alert: he survives. Scream made $2.45 million in its second weekend, to create a $9.06 million pile of cash altogether. So we like it more than the denizens of Fusty-Isle.

In the US arachna-love reigns supreme, followed by Scream, allegedly because the majors are keeping their next flood of big films until after the traditionally slumped figures of January.

We now have a list of the top films for 2021 via Box Office Mojo. Here are the top fourteen, which covers most of the familiar titles.

Top films of 2021

Three from China, rest are American, with a huge emphasis on fantasy, while only three of these films are streaming simultaneously. They all have budgets high enough to provide vaccine for entire countries in Africa.

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.