NEW YORK (AP) — The box office is thriving for the first time since the epidemic began. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” made $50 million in previews alone on Thursday, a spectacular start for a film that is expected to smash box office records.

“No Way Home” by Sony Pictures has the third-highest preview total ever, after only “Avengers: Endgame” ($60 million) and “The Force Awakens” ($57 million). Previously, previews were only available late at night, but they have gradually migrated earlier in the day; “No Way Home” began playing about 3 p.m. in 3,767 places.

The staggering total for the Marvel film starring Tom Holland, on the other hand, could not be overstated. “No Way Home” is on track to be the first pandemic film to gross more over $100 million. It might reach as much as $150 million. The previous year’s highest grossing film was likewise a Marvel-Sony movie, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which debuted with $90.1 million.

Despite the fact that the omicron version is causing closures in the entertainment sector, including multiple Broadway productions, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is still selling out cinemas. The box office has been fitfully sputtering back to life as recently as last week, when Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” debuted modestly.

However, although some viewers, particularly older ticket buyers, have been hesitant, the younger, loyal Marvel following has shown resilient to the pandemic issues of moviegoing. Marvel movies, including “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” “Black Widow,” and “Eternals,” will account for five of the top six films of the year.

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