Fans know the hero “Spider-Man” as Peter Parker; an awkward, geeky teenager, Parker has great power thrust upon him and struggles with the responsibility of that new power. Well, let’s see how Parker reacts when suddenly $114 million in cash falls into his lap.
In what has been a top story on most news programs and news sites Sunday night, the “Spider-Man” film opened to outstanding numbers this weekend. This Saturday we told you how the movie pulled in an estimated $41.5 million dollars on Friday alone, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. Well, full weekend estimates are out now and the picture just kept on getting better.
Debuting with larger numbers than anyone anticipated, “Spider-Man” pulled in a mind-boggling $114 million bucks over the May 3rd weekend, shattering every box office opening weekend record that’s come before. It is the first movie to shatter the $100 million dollar mark on its opening weekend. Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” held the three-day record previously when it pulled in $90.3 million last December, and before Harry came a bunch of Dinosaurs. In 1997 Universal’s “Jurassic Park: The Lost World” brought in $90.2 million during the four-day Memorial Day holiday. According to the Hollywood Reporter the $114 million dollar opening weekend estimate is considered by many studios executives to be conservative and once the final tally is in that number could go higher.
What makes this debut even more impressive is how “Spider-Man” captured this prize. According to Box Office Mojo “Harry Potter” debuted at 3,672 locations on 8,200 screens. That’s the most for any film. “Spider-Man,” on the other hand,” debuted at 3,615 locations, close to “Harry’s” numbers, but it played on only 7,500 screens over the weekend, 700 fewer than Harry. “Spider-Man” also posted the highest per theater average ever for an ultra-wide release — $31,535 per location.
“Spider-Man” follows the tradition of superheroes breaking box office records. When the Christopher Reeves “Superman” hit theaters in 1978 it brought in a milestone figure of $10.4 million from 818 theaters its opening weekend. “Superman II” went even further, gobbling up $14.1 million from 1,395 theaters in 1981. “Batman” blew them all away in 1989 with a staggering $40.5 million dollar bow from 2,194 venues. “Batman Returns” opened with $45.7 million and “Batman Forever” launched with $52.8 million, both of which set new weekend records at the time. And while not a record at the time, two years ago the “X-Men” debuted with $54.5 million in receipts.
The question is, will these numbers hold up for the long term? In just two weeks “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” hits the big screen and it’s gaining momentum by the minute. Could Spider-Man fall to the emerging Empire?
From an examination of posts left by fans on CBR’s own Spider-Man forum and others around the Internet, reaction to this film by fans has been overwhelmingly positive, with some fans going so far as saying “Spider-Man” is the best comics adaptation to date. Critical reviews have also been mostly positive.
For those hoping for more “Spider-Man,” you’ll get it. As we reported on April 5th, director Sam Raimi has been tapped to direct the sequel to the film which sees stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst reprising their roles. Production on the sequel is scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2003. No release date has been announced yet.