The $200 million plus Marvel Comics adaptation snared the biggest opening day ever, besting the original Spider-Man's $39.4 million—a record that had stood since that picture's May 3, 2002 debut. It ultimately amassed $403.7 million by the close of its domestic run, the fifth highest grossing picture of all time.
Spider-Man 2 also scored the top Wednesday ever, soaring past The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's $34.5 million. That movie and other fan-driven blockbusters started showing at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, and Spider-Man 2 followed suit, playing at more than 2,500 theaters at that time.
The sequel's debut marks the best of 2004, eclipsing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's $38.3 million. Shrek 2 still holds the overall single day record with $44.8 million on its first Saturday.
Sony unmasked Spider-Man 2 at 4,152 theaters, the second widest release of all time behind Shrek 2's 4,163. The launch eclipses the 3,615 debut of the first movie and casts a web across roughly 70% of the nation's theaters.
When Sony zeroed in on Independence Day week, they were, in effect, not trying to top the $114.8 million opening weekend record of the first Spider-Man. The frame's previous highs were 2002's Men in Black II with $52.1 million, or, taking ticket price inflation into account, Independence Day with an adjusted $70 million. Whenever July 4 lands on a weekend, as it does this year, it tends to put a dent in the weekend gross. May is the month for a movie gunning for weekend honors.
What the holiday allows is potent business spread out to weekdays, not just Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The average Fourth of July Wednesday debut can rack up 40% or more of its five-day opening from Wednesday and Thursday alone. With that in mind, Spider-Man 2 could likely top The Matrix Reloaded's $144.4 million five-day, $151.9 million six-day and $158.2 million opening week records—without the severe front-loadedness that movie suffered.
Meanwhile, Fahrenheit 9/11 added 316 theaters (a 36% boost) for a total of 1,184, but still saw business dip in the face of Spider-Man 2. The Michael Moore op-ed documentary was down 12% to an estimated $3.35 million on Wednesday, lifting its tally to $35.7 million. Picture invades another 541 theaters on Friday for a total of 1,725.
Read the box office history and track the related charts of the first movie.
Track the related charts of the second movie.