Box Office Report: Just How Amazing Was Spider-Man's Return to the Big Screen?

Box Office Report: Just How Amazing Was Spider-Man's Return to the Big Screen?

May 04, 2014

Here are your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $92.0 million ($92.0 million total)

2. The Other Woman - $14.2 million ($47.3 million total)

3. Heaven Is for Real - $8.7 million ($65.6 million total)

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $7.7 million ($237.1 million total)

5. Rio 2 - $7.6 million ($106.4 million total)

6. Brick Mansions - $3.5 million ($15.4 million total)

7. Divergent - $2.1 million ($142.6 million total)

8. The Quiet Ones - $2.0 million ($6.7 million total)

9. The Grand Budapest Hotel - $1.73 million ($51.5 million total)

10. God's Not Dead - $1.72 million ($55.5 million total)

The Big Stories

On May 5, 2002, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man became the first film in box office history to gross over $100 million in its opening weekend; a feat soon trumped by James Cameron's Aquaman on Entourage. Seriously though, $114.8 million on its way to over $403 million in the U.S. and $821 million worldwide. Since then 25 more films have hit nine digits in three days including Spider-Man 3's whopping $151.1 million start. Sony, naturally, was not going to let that franchise fade into the good night once Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire stepped away. It only took five years for the studio to reboot the whole enterprise to tell the "other" story of Spider-Man and we've been paying for it ever since.


How Amazing Is He?

The Amazing Spider-Man opened over the 2012 July Fourth holiday during the week and grossed $137 million in just six days. Over its next 98 it grossed another $125 million in the U.S. The $230 million-budgeted film did manage to be a success for Sony grossing over $752 million worldwide and its sequel was well on the studio's plate already. Director Marc Webb was confirmed to return, much to the chagrin of those who found the first film mediocre at best (that's me) with a bigger budget as well as more villains including Electro, the Rhino, Green "Harry" Goblin, and the screenwriting team of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. 

We will not be able to accurately compare part two with the first film just yet since its opening weekend already had a three-day head start. Plus the next three days for the sequel still have kids in school so it is unlikely to match that six-day $137 million start, but it has started with $92 million. The year 1999 was the unofficial beginning of Hollywood moving the summer kickoff to the first weekend in May with The Mummy.

How does Amazing Spider-Man 2 stack up with those other summer kick starters?

The Avengers ($207.4), Iron Man 3 ($174.1), Spider-Man 3 ($151.1), Iron Man 2 ($128.1), Spider-Man ($114.8), Iron Man ($98.6), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($92.0), X2: X-Men United ($85.5), X-Men Origins: Wolverine ($85.0), The Mummy Returns ($68.1), Thor ($65.7), Van Helsing ($51.7), Mission: Impossible III ($47.7), The Mummy ($43.3), Gladiator ($34.8), Kingdom of Heaven ($19.6)


Spider-Man vs. Captain America vs. America In General

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which should never, ever in a billion years be confused with Sam Raimi's truly amazing Spider-Man 2, did nevertheless outgross the 2004's three-day start of $88.1 million, which also took place over  a weekend edition of the July Fourth holiday. Webb's film will have no chance of reaching its $373 million and likely may not hit its $783 million worldwide take. Let's bring it back to the present where Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still trying to make its own run at being the highest grossing film of 2014. With another top five finish of $7-plus million, its tally is over $237 million and about $15 million away from taking over The Lego Movie's hold of that 2014 title. Captain America is already well out in front as the number one film globally this year with nearly $680 million, though ASM2 is more than halfway there with $369 million.

Box office is all about pacing and a film's two greatest enemies or strengths are word of mouth and competition. Captain America had more than a few loud whispers that it was amongst the best of the recent Marvel films. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been handed a 54% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, that ranks it 15th out of 44 wide releases this year but is hardly the kind of support of recent Marvel entities. The recent Captain America had an 89% approval and even Thor: The Dark World earned 65%. A very kind 54% aside, it is only going to matter now how movie fans respond..

ASM2 is already behind Captain America and Steve Rogers had very little to contend with through the month of April, aside from losing some kids to Rio 2 and women who flocked to The Other Woman in its fourth weekend. Unless the well-advertised Neighbors turns out to be a juggernaut (and we haven't had a worthy comedy out there since Jason Bateman's Bad Words) Spidey should indeed take the number one spot for a second weekend. But it could be closer than some think.

Green Hornet aside, Seth Rogen hasn't had a $30 million-plus weekend since the 2007 summer of Knocked Up and Superbad. Neighbors could very well be his biggest opener yet (in the live-action realm) and if that's the case, Spider-Man better hope it comes close to the $41 million of Captain America in its second weekend. Otherwise, it could face a scenario where it fails in week two with Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past waiting in the wings to take more of its audience.

It's probably a foregone conclusion that Spidey is not going to make up the pace of Captain America, even with a holiday weekend up the road to play catch-up. Its $277 million overseas is of great comfort to Sony right now, which can use another hit after a year of budget-to-grosses disappointments (The Monuments Men, RoboCop and big bomb Pompeii). Heaven Is for Real continues to do very well with over $65 million, but when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails to outgross the original or even Captain America, Sony's biggest disappointment could be yet to come if it continues to retain the same path for June 2016.

- Erik Childress can be seen each Thursday morning on WCIU-TV's First Business breaking down the box office on the Movies & Money segment.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]





Categories: Features, Box office
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