What just happened? Spider-Man: No Way Home has become the first film of the pandemic era to surpass the $1 billion mark at the global box office. The superhero film premiered at the Fox Village Theatre in Los Angeles on December 13 before going nationwide on December 17. It is the first movie since 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to bring in more than $1 billion globally, managing to do so in just 12 days.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens also reached the $1 billion mark in only 12 days. Only two other films - Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame - did so faster, in 11 days and five days, respectively. As it stands, the new Spider-Man is the highest-grossing film of 2021.

Few trades were impacted by the pandemic as heavily as the film industry. Theaters around the globe shut down for extended periods in response to lockdown efforts, and when studios started making deals to premiere movies at home, it looked as though the traditional theater model was in jeopardy of disappearing forever.

Resilient theater owners hung on. When they did start to reopen, there was a lack of new content to screen as movie production was also impacted by the pandemic. Desperate to get customers back in, some theaters experimented with screening classic movies like Back to the Future, Jaws and Psycho at discounted rates. Others rented out auditoriums for private screenings.

Covid remains relevant with the latest Omicron variant making the rounds, but Spider-Man's Christmas haul proves that consumers still have an appetite for the traditional theater experience.