‘Spider-Man’ On-Screen Heroics Tempered at Ticket Windows

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the first release of the summer season and the biggest film of the year for Sony Corp., led the U.S. box office in its opening weekend with sales at the low end of analysts’ projections.

The film, featuring Andrew Garfield in the title role, took in $91.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, including screenings that began on May 1, researcher Rentrak Corp. said today in a statement. Box Office Guru estimated the movie would take in $92 million, while BoxOffice.com, another industry watcher, projected $94 million.

If the picture meets or beats its predecessor’s global tally, the “Spider-Man” franchise “will be in very good shape,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. The film is a sequel to a 2012 release that brought in $752.2 million worldwide. Sony Pictures restarted the series that year with Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire as the Marvel superhero Spider-Man and his alter ego Peter Parker.

“‘Spider-Man’ is certainly the crown jewel, it really is so important to us and our studio,” Rory Bruer, president of worldwide theatrical distribution for Sony Pictures, said in an interview.

International sales to date total $277 million. According to Sony, the film is playing on 11,002 screens in China, which is the biggest release of any film in history.

“Audiences are enamored with superheroes and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is the latest proof of that, particularly in the international marketplace,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Rentrak.

Marvel Comics

A theatrical hit would give Tokyo-based Sony a financial and public-relations boost as it wrestles with larger-than-predicted losses and sluggish demand for its TVs, cameras and Xperia smartphones.

“Spider-Man” arrived in cinemas benefiting from the soaring popularity of superhero pictures, especially those based on Marvel comics. Walt Disney Co., Marvel’s owner, has taken in $679.9 million this year with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which finished fourth this past weekend with $7.8 million in receipts.

“The Winter Soldier” has the best debut this year to date, taking in $96.2 million in its premiere, according to Rentrak.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” features Garfield as the sensitive high school student Parker, endowed with the powers of a super arachnid, including strength and the ability to fly using spider webs.

In the new installment, Parker and his alter-ego face the villains Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, and the Green Goblin, as well as the mysterious company Oscorp. Parker is torn between saving the streets of New York and protecting his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, played again by Emma Stone.

More Sequels

The picture cost an estimated $200 million to produce, according to Imdb.com, a sum that excludes marketing and advertising. Studios typically split ticket sales with cinemas.

Critics have been 54 percent favorable, according to Rottentomatoes.com, which sums up reviews with a single tally.

The new picture is the fifth in Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, which began with director Sam Raimi’s 2002 film starring Maguire. Garfield’s debut in the 2012 reboot generated opening weekend sales of $62 million in the U.S. The series has delivered worldwide ticket sales of $3.62 billion, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry website.

Movie Tone

Sony Pictures, the Japanese company’s U.S.-based entertainment division, has additional sequels scheduled for 2016 and 2018, according to Box Office Mojo, as well as plans for spinoff characters.

“It will set the tone for the ‘Spider-Man’ universe of films Sony is planning,” said Wade Holden, a research analyst at SNL Kagan.

Weekend revenue for the top 10 films fell 32 percent to $141.5 million from the year-earlier period, Rentrak said. Domestic box-office sales year to date are $3.33 billion, up 8 percent from a year earlier.

The following table has U.S. movie box-office figures provided by studios to Rentrak. The amounts are based on gross ticket sales for May 2 to May 4.

Rev. Pct. Avg./ Total Movie (mln) Chg. Theaters Theater (mln) Wks =============================================================== 1 Spider-Man 2 $91.6 -- 4,324 $21,186 $91.6 1 2 Other Woman 14.4 -42 3,238 4,449 47.6 2 3 Heaven For Real 8.6 -40 2,930 2,936 65.5 3 4 Captain America 7.8 -52 3,179 2,446 237.2 5 5 Rio 2 7.7 -44 3,314 2,327 106.6 4 6 Brick Mansions 3.7 -61 2,647 1,395 15.6 2 7 Divergent 2.2 -40 1,639 1,331 142.7 7 8 Quiet Ones, The 2.0 -49 2,027 984 6.8 2 9 Grand Budapest 1.8 -28 884 2,011 51.5 9 10 God’s Not Dead 1.8 -37 1,330 1,328 55.6 7

Top 10 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct.

(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$141.5 $208.4 -32

Year-to-date Revenue

2014 2013


(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$3,328 $3,083 +8.0

Source: Rentrak Corp.

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