Source: Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures

Monday update: 

Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t quite keep that $125M pace and finished its opening weekend with $117M. That’s still good enough for the second biggest opening in franchise history and a major victory for Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. Original article below.

What a difference Marvel Studios makes. Spider-Man: Homecoming has quickly made a habit of beating box office projections and is now headed for an opening weekend of $125M to $127M. The new Spidey film earned over $51M on Friday according to Deadline, including $15.4M in Thursday night preview screenings.

Should these projections hold, Spider-Man: Homecoming will enjoy the second biggest opening ever for the franchise, surpassed by only 2007’s Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M). Its opening would beat every other Spider-Man film from the Sam Raimi era and both Marc Webb films. That is a big win for Sony Pictures that clearly justifies the studio’s decision to work with Marvel Studios in a pact announced in February 2015.

Coming off of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, the franchise didn’t look nearly as healthy as it does today. While the film opened with a solid $91.6M, critics and audiences were left unimpressed and it went on to become the lowest earning Spider-Man film both domestically and worldwide. Suffice to say The Amazing Spider-Man 3, if Sony had gone that route, would have needed a minor miracle simply to match the second Webb film’s $91.6M opening and getting back to Raimi-era numbers would have been next to impossible.

Holding serve and preventing a box office drop in the wake of a disappointing film would have been a solid showing for Marvel Studios after finally getting its hands on Spider-Man, but that’s not the level of success the studio usually aims for, or achieves. Marvel Studios has succeeded by once again delivering an extremely likable iteration of one of its heroes wrapped up in well told story. Yes, that Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) kicker also helped, but perhaps not quite as much as simply making a movie people like.

Audiences gave the film an “A” CinemaScore last night. That is the eighth consecutive “A” CinemaScore rating for Marvel Studios, showing just how in tune the studio is with its audience. With this level of word-of-mouth, we could see Spider-Man: Homecoming continue to beat these increasingly aggressive box office projections, just as it did Thursday night and all day Friday.