Spidey swings back to action with $140M launch

Associated Press Modified: July 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm •  Published: July 8, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Your new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has spun himself a $65 million opening weekend and $140 million in his first six days at U.S. theaters.

Overseas, Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man" added $129.1 million, raising its international total to $201.6 million and worldwide haul to $341.2 million since it began rolling out a week earlier in some foreign markets.

The movie started off as a smaller domestic moneymaker than the previous three Spidey films, but it laid to rest objections that it was too soon to relaunch the superhero franchise.

The new origin story for the Marvel Comics web-slinger comes just five years after "Spider-Man 3," Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi's final movie in a series that shattered box-office records.

"This was never modeled or was never meant to be 'Spider-Man 4.' This was always a relaunch with a new cast and different stories to tell, and quite frankly, it succeeded beyond our imaginations," said Rory Bruer, Sony's head of distribution.

The previous weekend's No. 1 film, Universal's teddy-bear comedy "Ted," fell to second-place with $32.6 million, raising its domestic total to $120.2 million.

Among new releases, Oliver Stone's drug-war thriller "Savages" opened at No. 4 with a solid $16.2 million weekend, also for Universal. Paramount's concert film "Katy Perry: Part of Me" failed to pack in the pop star's fans, debuting a distant No. 8 with just $7.2 million.

Going into wide release after two weekends in a handful of theaters, Woody Allen's ensemble romance "To Rome with Love" broke into the top-10 with $3.5 million. The Sony Pictures Classics release lifted its domestic total to $5.3 million.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" bumped up U.S. receipts, with Hollywood pulling in an estimated $200 million overall for the weekend, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com. That's a 28.6 percent increase over the same weekend last year, when "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" led with $47.1 million in its second weekend.

Leading up to the domestic debut of "Amazing Spider-Man" last Tuesday, Hollywood had expectations of a six-day total of around $120 million for the film by the end of Fourth of July weekend. That proved a conservative projection, but studio executives genuinely were uncertain how well the film might do so close on the heels of the previous "Spider-Man" series.

"To expect the kind of numbers the first 'Spider-Man' did or the second or third would have been kind of reaching," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "For a reboot that people definitely were on the fence about initially, I think this is a really strong performance."

Raimi and Maguire's "Spider-Man" was the first movie to top $100 million in a single weekend, opening with $114.8 million in 2002. "Spider-Man 3" set a new weekend record with its $151.1 million debut, which has since been surpassed by such films as 2008's "The Dark Knight," last year's "Harry Potter" finale and the current record-holder, "The Avengers," with $207.4 million in May.

While it took more than a weekend for "The Amazing Spider-Man" to put up numbers comparable to the earlier Spidey flicks, the film has good reviews and fan reaction for the new cast and crew to build on in subsequent installments.

"With a film that is a relaunch like this, with a new cast, a new director, there are a lot of pieces. You have to prove yourself, just like 'Batman Begins' had to prove itself and went on to have such incredible success with 'Dark Knight,'" Sony's Bruer said. "This is a new trilogy and a new era of Spider-Man. We certainly have very much in our minds where it's going to go with the story arc. It's just going to be an incredible several years with this relaunch. We have a lot of great stories to tell."

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