News

'Spider-Man' Avoids Second-Weekend Slump

by Brandon Gray
May 11, 2002

After shattering every opening record on the books last weekend with its $114.8 million debut, Spider-Man is poised to pull off a feat nearly as amazing: buck the second-weekend slump uber-openers have been prone to in recent years.

On Friday, the Marvel Comics adaptation snared an estimated $19.6 million, a 162.6% jump over Thursday but, more importantly, a 50.2% drop from its $39.4 million haul last Friday. By comparison, The Mummy Returns unraveled 58.1% on its second Friday a year ago leading to a 50.5% overall decline for the weekend from $68.1 million to $33.7 million. Marvel stable mate X-Men devolved 65.6% en route to a 56.9% fall on its sophomore session, from $54.5 million to $23.5 million.

Spider-Man's trajectory points to around $65 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, topping Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone's $57.5 million as the biggest second weekend ever. That would equal a 43% dip from its opening. To put that in perspective, the movies that bowed to $40 million or more last summer tumbled 53.6% on average in their sophomore sessions. For a movie to scale such unprecedented heights and then keep more than half that audience is a marvel to behold in this era of one-weekend wonders.

By weekend's end, its 10th day of release, Spidey will likely have captured about $216 million, breaking yet another record: Fastest to $200 Million (although it could feasibly pull that off by the end of Saturday). That would handily surpass current title holder Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which took 13 days to cross the $200 million mark.

As of Friday, Spider-Man's eight-day haul was at an estimated $171.2 million, eclipsing Ice Age's $170 million to become the highest grossing picture of 2002. From Thursday to Friday alone, it leapt 27 spots on the all time chart to No. 68, landing between The Matrix's $171,479,930 and Tarzan's $171,091,819 and excelling past such other movies as last year's Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind (around $170 million), Batman Returns ($162,831,698), and X-Men ($157,299,717). By the end of the weekend, Spidey should be sitting at No. 34 at least.

Meanwhile, the erotic thriller Unfaithful got off to a solid start, attracting an estimated $4.6 million on Friday for second place. The Cotton Club reunion of Richard Gere and Diane Lane is en route to a $14 million weekend, which would be a career best for Gere in a top-billed role. However, moviegoers polled by CinemaScore on opening night gave it a C+, suggesting that it may suffer from poor word-of-mouth. With About a Boy, Enough and other high profile counter-programming to Spider-Man and Star Wars on the way, adult audiences may be tempted away in coming weeks.

Originally scheduled to be released over a year ago, teen comedy The New Guy starring Road Trip's DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku and Eddie Griffin finally enrolled at 2,687 theaters and scored a surprisingly decent $3.2 million estimate on Friday. It should reach close to $9 million by the end of the weekend.



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