Box Office Recap: “Spider-Man” on the top of the charts… For the Seventh Time in the past Decade

Yes, you read the title right. For the seventh time in the past decade (well, ten years and two months), a Spider-Man film is on the top of the weekend domestic box office charts. Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” stayed at number one for two weeks in 2002, and its sequels did the same in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Now, here in 2012, director Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” is on top once again after making $65 million this weekend and $140 million over the course of its six-day opening.

“Spider-Man’s” $65 million debut weekend is the fifth largest opening of the year, behind only “The Avengers” ($207 million), “The Hunger Games” ($155 million), “The Lorax” ($70 million), and “Brave” ($66 million). But “Spidey’s” $140 million did allow it to beat out the six-day gross of some other recent comic book reboots, namely “Batman Begins” and “X-Men: First Class,” which made $79.5 million and $69.9 million over their first six days, respectively.

However, perhaps the best way to judge “The Amazing Spider-Man’s” success is to compare it to that of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. The reboot found itself right behind the first “Spider-Man’s” six day total of $144.2 million. However, “Spider-Man 2” grossed $180.1 million and “Spider-Man 3” $176.2 million, meaning the newest film actually made the least of any “Spidey” movie to date. And while “The Amazing Spider-Man” beat out “Batman Begins” in terms of gross, Christopher Nolan’s film had the best six-day start of any Batman film at the time. Of course, “The Dark Knight” later upped the ante.

After breaking “The Hangover’s” record for best debut by an original R-rated comedy (i.e. not counting “The Hangover Part II“) last weekend,  Seth McFarlane’s “Ted,” remained strong, grossing $32.6 million in its second weekend. For comparison’s sake, “The Hangover” made just under $32.8 million in its second weekend, and “Ted’s” ten-day total of $120.2 million bests “The Hangover” over the same period.

In its third weekend, “Brave” remained in third place with $20.162 million. The Pixar flick has now grossed $174.5 million to date, which means it’s all but assured to be the studio’s tenth movie to accumulate $200 million.

Oliver Stone’s “Savages” came in fourth place with $16 million in its opening weekend, which isn’t all that bad considering its competition. Behind it, “Magic Mike,” “Madea’s Witness Protection,” and “Madagascar 3” slid into the fifth, sixth, and seventh spots with $15.6, $10.1, and $7.5 million, respectively.

The weekend’s soft release was “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” which came in eighth place with $7.1 million. In ninth and tenth place we saw a couple strong showings from films teetering on the edge of the “specialty box office” label. Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” grossed $4.5 million from 884 theaters, while in its third week Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” added 777 theaters, giving it a total of 806 and making $3.5 million.

Overall, it was a strong weekend at the box office. The nation’s top 12 films grossed $187.1 million, a 28 percent bump from this time last year.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Amazing Spider-Man, 1/4,318, Sony, $65 million, $140 million.
2. Ted, 2/3,256, Universal, $32.593 million, $120.24 million.
3. Brave, 3/3,891, Buena Vista, $20.162 million, $174.519 million.
4. Savages, 1/2,628, Universal, $16.162 million.
5. Magic Mike, 2/3,120, Warner Bros., $15.61 million, $72.797 million.
6. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, 2/2,161, $10.2 million, $45.846 million.
7. Madagascar 3, 5/2,861, Paramount/Dreamworks, $7.7 million, $196.02 million.
8. Katy Perry: Part of Me, 1/3,730, Paramount, $7.15 million.
9. Moonrise Kingdom, 7/884, Focus, $4.642 million, $26.893 million.
10. To Rome with Love, 3/806, SPC, $3.502 million, $5.621 million.

  

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Box Office Preview: Spidey like it’s 2002

The Amazing Spider-Man

Everything I’ve heard, read, and seen regarding “The Amazing Spider-Man” indicates that it’s a good, or even great movie. Or, rather, that it would be such if (more or less) the exact same film hadn’t come out just a decade ago. The idea here seems to be that Sony needed to relaunch the franchise to keep the rights to the character from reverting back to Marvel, and that kids young enough not to remember 2002 still love Spider-Man. In spite of all that, the reboot, directed by Marc Webb (of “(500) Days of Summer” fame), has been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and set a new record for highest Tuesday gross on the day it was released.

I’m not going to tell you not to see “The Amazing Spider-Man,” because the latter fact seems to indicate that you’re going to anyway and the former that it might even be worth seeing. But before you inevitably find yourself in your theater seat, don’t think I was just being cynical when I warned you that this was the exact same movie.

Seriously, there are way more similarities here then there are differences, and the differences really aren’t all that significant. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is a tad less geeky than Tobey Maguire’s. Imagine that. The female lead isn’t Mary Jane Watson, it’s that other one, Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone. The “Spider-Man” is evil cause is championed by Gwen’s dad, police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), rather than J. Jonah Jameson. And right before you point out that the villain is different, think again. The real bad guy here, as in Sam Raimi’s version, is OsCorp. As Bullz-eye’s Jason Zingale put it:

Peter gets bitten by a genetically-altered spider and develops superhuman strength (among other things); Uncle Ben is killed by a petty thief; Peter goes seeking revenge in the guise of a costumed vigilante; and, well, you know the rest. The first hour plays out pretty similar to Raimi’s movie, and though there are some nice changes along the way (like the return of Spider-Man’s web-shooters and the “power and responsibility” speech), it’s hard not to feel a sense of déjà vu in the repetitiveness of it all. Granted, it’s completely necessary to re-tell the origin story because of how it ties into the new characters, but it probably didn’t need to be as drawn out as it is here.

Savages

With competition from Spidey and the July 20 release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” very few big name movies, or movies with big names, are seeing release this month. “Savages” is one of just a few exceptions. Oliver Stone directs and Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass“) stars as one of two friends running a lucrative homegrown marijuana business in Southern California. Conflict ensues when they share a love interest (Blake Lively)… and also when a Mexican cartel headed by Elena (Selma Hayek) and Lado (Benico Del Toro) shows up and demands a partnership. A war of sorts breaks out between the cartel and the trio, with the help of a DEA agent played by John Travolta.  Those are some pretty big names, right?

Anyway, Rotten Tomatoes calls “Savages” “undeniably messy,” but also says it “finds Oliver Stone returning to dark, fearlessly lurid form.” Currently at a 60 percent on the Tomatometer, “Savages” has gotten extremely mixed reviews. I don’t think it’ll be all that good, but it’s got some recognizable faces and isn’t “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The latter attribute seems like the film’s primary draw and hints at its target demographic: people who want to see something besides “Spider-Man” this weekend.

  

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A Chat with Tony Todd (“Hatchet II”)

Tony Todd is often unjustly considered to be just a horror actor, but one only needs to take a look at his filmography to see that he’s working in countless genres. Indeed, his television work alone has found him bouncing from sci-fi (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) to comedy (“Chuck”) to action (“24”). Mind you, we’re probably not doing a whole lot to change that whole he-only-does-horror-movies perception by talking to him about his work as Reverend Zombie in the “Hatchet” franchise – “Hatchet 2,” by the way, is now available on DVD – but we did at least make a point of trying to ask him about as many different roles as possible. We did not, however, say the name of his most famous film five times in front of a mirror. (We’re not crazy).

Bullz-Eye: How are you?

Tony Todd: Good, good. Just going through the day.

BE: I can imagine. I’m sure they keep you busy. A tight schedule.

TT: It’s really weird when they give you someone for 15 minutes, then the next person, “You’ve got 15 minutes…” It’s like speed interviewing. (Laughs) But I guess it’s a necessary part of it. Where are you calling from?

BE: Norfolk, Virginia.

TT: Norfolk, okay. I just did a movie down in Petersburg, Virginia.

BE: Not too far away from here.

TT: It was great. Some of my best work I think I’ve done in a horror film.

BE: Which movie was that?

TT: It was called “Unbroken.” There’s a company down there called Stormcatcher Films.

BE: Right, exactly. Very cool! So…”Hatchet II.” You got to play Reverend Zombie again.

TT: Yeah, and doing the first one, I knew going in that this was going to happen. So I’m glad that Adam Green is not only a man of his word but has a vision that keeps me employed. (Laughs)

BE: Plus, we got to see a little bit more of him this go around.

TT: Yeah. Well, he had told me the back story when we did the first one, so I was able to play that scene in the first one knowing the full knowledge. And then we got to go down to New Orleans, which is one of my favorite cities.

BE: Even better. So what was it like to get the chance to step back into the Reverend’s shoes? I mean, he’s certainly an interesting character.

TT: Yeah, I tried to find his reality, which is that he’s a small time con man from New Jersey. His real name is Clive Washington. And just like when we go from high school to college, you get the opportunity to reinvent yourself, and he’s a reinvented person that, unfortunately, is believing his own hype. He can’t shed it.

BE: How did you and Adam first meet up?

TT: I met Adam on a convention circuit, actually. He comes from the fan world. He’s very enthusiastic; loves film, particularly horror. I think we chatted a few times, and then he made me an offer to play Reverend Zombie. I turned it down. And then he and (John Carl) Buechler kind of lobbied and convinced me that it was a project worth taking.

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Weekend box office: greed is still pretty good

Things turned out at this weekend’s box office more or less as predicted on Thursday. “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” came in on top at an estimated $19 million for Fox, according to the Box Office Mojo chart, about a million or two shy of the figures being bandied about, but close enough for an adult skewing film expected to have decent legs. Nikki Finke thinks it may have missed it’s moment in terms of being a topical must-see and also avoiding some bad press provided by the mouthy Oliver Stone. Maybe. She also points out that Fox hasn’t exactly been on a hot streak this summer. Still, this is actually a career high, raw cash wise, for Stone and not too bad a showing for the longest break between an original and a sequel since Martin Scorsese and Paul Newman dared to follow-up the genuine classic, “The Hustler,” with his underrated non-classic, “The Color of Money,” a quarter century after the fact.

Following not so far behind, really, is Warners’ “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” which earned an estimated $16.3 million. Anthony D’Allesandro is calling the film a “bomb” along the lines of the recent “Cats and Dogs” sequel. That may be accurate compared to what family films like this usually make and in light an as yet unspecified large budget but it’s still within a couple of million of this weekend’s $50-70 million live-action hit.

gahoole22

While the books might have had an audience, something just seemed generally awry and the film lacked a clear premise for non-fans other than “owls fighting.” Whether or not Zack Snyder, whose early hits are receding in the memory of Hollywood, no doubt, gets to remain in the high end movie big leagues may now be largely dependent on what happens when his strange and zany looking action fantasy, “Sucker Punch,” comes out on 3/25/11.

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Post Comic-Con movie news

I’m still recuperating a bit from last weekend’s insanity at Comic-Con and a busy week looms ahead, but the recent film news is just a little too interesting to ignore/gloss over.

* Mike Fleming broke the news this afternoon that Daniel Craig has signed on the line which is dotted to play the male lead in the upcoming American film version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” In case you never set foot in your local Barnes and Noble outlet, that’s the first novel in so-called Millennium Trilogy of mystery thrillers by the late Swedish author/political activist Steig Larsson. The series is becoming a sort of adult/non-geek HarryPotter for the Trader Joe’s set and the first U.S. film of it has attracted the powerhouse twosome of writer Steve Zallian and director David Fincher.

Judging from having seen the solid, but not excessively over-awesome, Swedish film version of the novel (which I’m really going to have to try and read at some point), Craig is probably a much better choice than the earlier floated Brad Pitt for the part. 007 or not, it’s just easier to see Craig as a down on his luck journo. Also, as Fleming points out, this puts Craig in the unique position of having at least two and, if you count a potentially huge “Cowboys and Aliens,” possibly three franchises to keep busy and well-compensated. Craig is not only an extremely good actor, he’s apparently got some very good agents.

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