Los Angeles: Spiderman’s overwhelming first week collections are a harbinger of hope for a dozen more high budget sequels that are ready for release.
In Hollywood, summer is supposed to open with a box-office bang and, if all goes well, keep on popping through the next three months.
"Spider-Man 3," the latest in the blockbuster series starring Tobey Maguire, set an exuberant tone for Hollywood's summer season, beating box-office records for its opening day and the weekend that followed, domestically and internationally.
The movie, directed by Sam Raimi, took in an estimated $148 mn (Rs 666 crore) in domestic ticket sales in its opening weekend, including $59 million when it opened this Friday, according to box-office tracking companies like Screenline and Media by Numbers. Both figures broke the records held by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
"Spider-Man 3" broke records around the world too, as it opened abroad even before hitting screens in the United States, underscoring the rising dominance of international markets. The film took in an estimated $227 million in 105 foreign countries, outstripping the previous record-holder, "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith."
"It's the biggest opening ever in the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, Italy, Mexico and Brazil," said Jeff Blake, Sony's chairman for worldwide marketing and distribution, adding that the film broke records in 26 countries. "It justifies the expense of a franchise picture like this. And I think it's a great sign for the summer."
The movie may have cost more to make than any film in Hollywood history. Sony put the budget at $260 million, with additional marketing costs of about $120 million, but some published reports have placed the budget at above $300 million.
The strong opening weekend for "Spider-Man 3" may augur well for a season in which more than a dozen big-budget sequels are set to come barreling forth, promising what some experts say could be a record-breaking summer for the movie industry. "Shrek the Third" will follow "Spider-Man 3" by two weeks, with "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" right after that. "Ocean's 13" and "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer"come on their heels in June.
The only competition among new releases for "Spider-Man 3," Curtis Hanson's "Lucky You," a Las Vegas poker story with Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana, took in just $2.5 million. The horror film "Disturbia" came in second for the weekend, taking in a mere $5.7 million.