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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Non-Oscar movie news

As I write this the announcement of the 2010 Academy Award nominations is literally only a few hours away — and I’ll most certainly be discussing them tomorrow — but this late bird has some other worms to catch, starting with goings on up in Park City.

* Yes, Kevin Smith and the premiere of his long planned “Red State” is the talk of the geek movie blogosphere today. Sundance can be a real circus and Smith was, I gather, both ringmaster and clown as he jokingly joined the protest staged by the detestable, publicity loving, Westboro Baptist Church who apparently noticed that Smith was attacking them. That was followed by a 26 minute pre-screening talkathon — which I’ve yet to bring myself to watch, though I’ve read the highlights — in which he announced his plans to distribute the film himself.

As for the response to the movie goes, the reviews have been extremely interesting. The fact of the matter is that Smith has so gone on out of his way to attack film critics, it’s kind of hard for any of us to have an opinion of one of his films that isn’t colored by the silliness at this point. No surprise, then, that reaction has been dramatically mixed. Not everyone even agrees if it’s actually a horror film or a religious-themed thriller. Sort of a more violent and bloody, less musical, version of the 1973 “The Wicker Man.”

Avatar* Speaking of talented makers of entertaining but highly imperfect films whose need to communicate can often place them at cross-purposes with themselves, James Cameron has told Entertainment Weekly that he’s working on the screenplays for two “Avatar” sequels with the intent of releasing them over Christmas of 2014 and 2015. To his credit, I think, Cameron says he’ll donate some portion of films’ grosses to environmental charities, who can use all the help they can get, considering our planet seems to be melting right at the moment.

* And speaking of directors who at times have worked at cross-purposes with themselves, no one has ever done so in grander fashion than the late Orson Welles. It’s starting to look like his legendary unfinished 1970s project, “The Other Side of the Wind,” may finally get a release of some sort. Because Welles never edited most of it, there’s a school of thought that the film should be released only in unedited form. This is one of the more stupid schools of thought I’ve encountered. Thank goodness, DVDs can make the unedited rushes available to anyone who wants to imagine how the man might have edited the film itself, but rushes are not a movie.

As far as other “lost” Welles films, Kevin Jagernauth mentions a miraculous restoration of his badly truncated, “The Magnificent Ambersons.” I’d settle for a decent restoration/re-release of his Shakespearian opus, “Chimes at Midnight.”

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* Chris Hemsworth — aka Mighty Thor, God of Thunder — has seen the Avengers script by Joss Whedon and, guess what, he thinks its “incredible.” Ordinarily, I’d be skeptical of a star’s good opinion of his own movie, but this Browncoat needs it to be incredible. It better be incredible. No pressure, though.

* Another Sundance sale. For what sounds like a small but intense love story, “Like Crazy” fetched a relatively big price.

* Sam Raimi is still chatting up the possibility of some kind “Evil Dead” reboot.

* An item left over from last week relating to another kind of evil dead: Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles’ “The Dictator” based on a novel claimed by an obscure author you might have heard named Saddam Hussein. This is one movie I really have to see.

* I really enjoyed interviewing Morgan Spurlock and he was as nice as could be, but he failed to mention anything about his latest, very clever sounding stunt-documentary “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” which has been getting great press at Sundance. Jerkface.

  

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RIP Dino De Laurentiis

Another link to cinema’s past has left us with the passing of the legendary Italian and eventually American producer at age 91. A truly old school style movie mogul with all the good and bad that went with that, creatively speaking, Dino De Laurentiis was instrumental in launching the worldwide vogue for European cinema, particularly in his partnership with fellow powerhouse producer Carlo Ponti and ultimate Italian auteur Federico Fellini.

During a period I personally consider Fellini’s creative prime, De Laurentiis co-produced two of the director’s most powerful films, the classic tearjerker “La Strada” with Anthony Quinn and the great Giulietta Masina, and “Nights of Cabiria” also with Masina, a great tragicomedy and a huge personal favorite of mine. He also produced two now somewhat obscure adaptations, a version of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” with Audrey Hepburn and “Ulysses.” Fortunately, the latter was not an adaptation of the James Joyce stream-of-consciousness meganovel, but Homer’s “The Odyssey,” and starred Kirk Douglas in the heroic title role.

No snob, De Laurentiis had a gift for commingling arthouse fare, quality middlebrow entertainment, and complete schlock — some of it fun, some it merely schlocky. Geeks cried foul when he eschewed stop-motion for an unworkable animatronic monstrosity and, mostly, Rick Baker in a monkey suit for his silly mega-blockbuster remake attempt, “King Kong,” but that movie was a classic when compared to something like the hugely regrettable killer-whale flick “Orca.”

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Midweek movie news, the Lamont Cranston and Kent Allard memorial edition

Comic-Con’s been over for a week and a half and the geek news is flying.

* Mike Fleming is claiming a Finke “Toldja!” for the news that Disney and “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski are going ahead with a film version of the comic book, “Oblivion.” I’m not familiar with the book so, should I be more excited about this than I am? Of course, having recently rewatched the original “Tron” I’m even less excited about his other movie. I’m sorry, but it’s got to be one of the thinnest excuses for a piece of entertainment I’ve ever seen. A few interesting visuals aside, it’s easily one of the weakest efforts Disney has ever been associated with as far as I can see. It’s lingering appeal is a complete mystery to me.

* As rumors of the day go, I find this one even less believable than most. That idea is that Quentin Tarantino may be “attached” to what had previously been Sam Raimi’s new version of William Gibson’s influential pulp character, the Shadow — who became best known via a popular thirties radio show starring a very young Orson Welles.  I’m a fan of the character and of Tarantino, so I certainly wouldn’t mind this being true. It just feels significantly off from Mr. Tarantino’s many obsessions, though considering his delving into thirties and forties cinema for “Inglourious Basterds,” you never know.

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Midweek movie news, and then…

After tonight, I’ll be taking a break from the daily blogging grind for just a bit. That means I’ll be out completely for a couple of days at least and then you may see a post here and there and then, suddenly, I’ll be back like I was never gone in the first place, probably towards the tail end of the month. So, this will have to hold you for a little while.

* As of tonight, corporate raider Carl Icahn appears to be a majority stockholder in Lionsgate.

* I’ve never been a fan of the seventies movie of the silly seventies film version of “Logan’s Run,” but with Carl Erik Rinsch directing, my interest in the new film perked up considerably. Now, Alex Garland — who wrote and produced the not-entirely-unrelated upcoming version of “Never Let Me Go” which I discussed yesterday — has jumped on board, making it even more interesting. Better, they’re approaching it as a new version of the book, not a remake of the film. In the 1976 film, by the way, no one in the futuristic society was permitted to live past 30. In the novel, it was 21.

* Sam Raimi has been confirmed as the director of “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” Apparently Robert Downey, Jr., who just formed a new company with his producer wife, Susan Downey, is the most likely Oz at this point.

* Be sure and check out Will Harris’s terrific interview with one of the best, Isabella Rossellini. Easily one of the most fascinating  actresses of the last thirty years or so, with quite a backstory behind her. Don’t miss it.

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*Though Ms. Rossellini seems perfectly at home in a very humorous way with her fifty-something status, that is not really always the case for actresses. This month’s conversation between Jason Bellamy and Ed Howard at the House Next Door underlines that point as the cinephile thinkers discuss two of Hollywood’s greatest show-biz based films, “Sunset Boulevard” and “All About Eve,” both released in 1950 and both dealing with actresses who struggling with this whole passage of time thing.

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