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'Spider-Man: No Way Home' bringing moviegoers back to theaters

The latest Sony/Marvel web-slinger adventure is overperforming and expected to become the first movie with a $100 million-plus opening weekend of the pandemic era.

MAUMEE, Ohio — People are rushing to their local movie theater to see the latest Sony/Marvel movie "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which is expected to break box office records this weekend.

Moviegoers at Cinemark Fallen Timbers 14 and XD in Maumee said the movie had them excited to come back to the big screen. They believe the silver screen is the best way to see a blockbuster like the latest web-slinger's adventure.

The general manager at Fallen Timbers said Thursday was the busiest Thursday night preview day for a new movie since the pandemic started. And because of the new Spider-Man movie, they're expecting their biggest box office weekend in a long time.

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The popcorn, drinks and tickets are familiar to moviegoers. But for some people, it's been some time since they've gone to the cinema.

Movie theaters like the Cinemark at Fallen Timbers are selling out showings for the first time in a long time. It's all thanks to "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which opened Thursday night.

"We are really excited because we heard there's some new people in it," Jackson Zbierajwski said, who saw the movie with his brother Will.

That excitement is translating to the box office. Caitlin Piper, senior manager of public relations for Cinemark, says the movie had the second-most advanced ticket sales ever. But it also broke another company record.

"Thursday night, opening night of 'Spider-Man: No Way Home,' was Cinemark's best opening night in company history," she said. "No COVID caveat there. It was an absolute home run."

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A year ago, people were writing obituaries for movie theaters. But now, superheroes and blockbusters are saving the industry.

"We knew when the strong content came and when COVID felt more managed and (people felt) comfortable leaving their homes, they would come back to the theaters," Piper said.

Customers and workers agree it's an irreplaceable experience.

"It's the in-theater experience that I love," Dylan Toska said. "Also the comfy seats, the popcorn."

"I think movie theaters are really special," Will Zbierajwski said. "I think it'd be cool if they stuck around for a long time."

And with films like Spider-Man, it looks like they will.

The new movie is currently outperforming expectations thanks to a massive $50 million haul in Thursday night preview showings. The flick could pull in close to $200 million domestically by the end of the weekend.