‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Draws in Low Numbers at China Box Office

in Marvel, Movies

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse low numbers in Chinia

There was a time when China’s Box Office would make or break a film’s financial success, as Hollywood became very dependent on their oversea numbers. It was said that American studios were merely making films to please their international audiences, which were bringing in roughly three times the profit compared to theaters in the United States. However, with films such as Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) drawing in low Box Office numbers in China, those days of relying on Chinese audiences may be fizzling out.

Spider-Man falls through the multiverse
Credit: Sony Pictures

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Before we assume that having a black lead character is a death sentence for movies internationally, it’s important to note that the film received solid reviews overseas. Chinese critics and audiences gave the film positive reviews,  yet the Into The Spider-Verse (2018) sequel only managed to bring in $17.2 million. Luckily for Sony Pictures Animation, the film grossed $120,500,000 domestically. The Spidey flick raked in a total of $208,600,000 with their combined International numbers on opening weekend.

Gwen Stacy across the spider-verse hailee steinfeld with miles morales shameik moore romantic
Credit: Sony Pictures

While the film is already on its way to a surefire success, only about 8% of its revenue came from China. Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) made almost three times more than its predecessor’s opening weekend back in 2018. However, China’s contribution remains the same.

Why ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse And Other Films Are Underperforming in China

Miles Morales fighting The Spot in Spider-Man: across The Spider-Verse
Credit: Marvel, Sony Pictures

The worldwide box office for Avengers: Endgame (2019), considered the last theatrical blockbuster event before the pandemic, grossed over $1,941,066,100. Since then, it’s been tough for many films to reach the 1 billion mark overseas. It happened recently, with  Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) coming in at $1,636,174,514 internationally. However, reports say the film was expected to rake in more than that. For example, analysts predicted that China would bring in $500 million, but they only brought in less than half of that.

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Strict Covid laws prevented audiences in China from attending theaters much longer after the pandemic than in the States. Chinese audiences are still getting used to returning to the theater. There has also been a report of superhero fatigue overseas, similar to the American audience’s experience. This is made clear by the poor box office numbers earned by  Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023). Chinese audiences may have also grown tired of seeing the same movies repeatedly and are now looking to support films with original ideas.

Zachary Levi as Shazam in Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Credit: DC/Warner Bros.

As Chinese audiences return to the theaters, experts say their revenue could bring in at least 4 billion dollars for Hollywood. If studios want to continue relying on China as a cash cow, they will have to start getting more creative with their blockbusters instead of producing an endless cycle of superhero sequels.

Do you think China has grown tired of American Blockbusters? Let us know in the comments. 

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