Landing on the same early May slot as the original, Spider-Man 3 spun $151.1 million on over 10,000 screens at 4,252 locations, the biggest opening weekend and widest release ever. The litany includes all-time daily grosses for its $59.8 million Friday, $51.3 million Saturday and $39.9 million Sunday, fastest to $100 million and the mightiest IMAX debut: $4.8 million at 84 sites (included in the weekend total), topping 300's $3.6 million.
The previous weekend title holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, reaped $135.6 million on over 8,500 screens at 4,133 locations last July. As impressive as Spider-Man 3 was, it was expected to eclipse that record, given its timing and the popularity and the precedents of its franchise. The first Spider-Man nabbed $114.8 million on 7,500 screens at 3,615 venues in 2002, and was the first movie to crack $100 million in three days. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, its start would equal over $130 million today.
Ultimately, Spider-Man grossed $403.7 million (or nearly $460 million adjusted), while the Pirates sequel closed with $423.3 million. Muted by a Wednesday start and Independence Day release, Spider-Man 2 had an $88.2 million first weekend and it wound up with $373.6 million (or around $396 million adjusted).
Distributor Sony, which claims Spider-Man 3 cost $258 million to make, hoped to at least match the first Spider-Man's opening or hit the $120 million range, according to president of distribution Rory Bruer. "The majority of audiences we polled liked this one better than the first two," Bruer added, while opening night moviegoer pollster CinemaScore's grade was "B+." Sony's polling further indicated that the audience was 54 percent male and 63 percent under 25 years old.
The market as a whole grossed $189.6 million over the weekend, with Spider-Man 3 accounting for 80 percent of that tally. Indeed, the gap between Spider-Man 3 and second place Disturbia was the largest on record. That's no slight on Disturbia, a hit in its own right enjoying the weekend's strongest hold among wide releases, but a sign of how low the box office fell the past two weeks.
Overall business saw a 72 percent improvement over last summer's kick-off, when Mission: Impossible III opened, and attendance was on par with 2002 when the first Spider-Man debuted with 70 percent market share.
The weekend's other wide release, Lucky You, folded out of the gate, drawing $2.7 million at 2,525 venues. It was among the weakest starts ever for a very wide release. Distributor Warner Bros. had batted the poker romance around the release schedule since 2005.
At the foreign box office, Spider-Man 3 captured another record: biggest overall weekend, with $230.5 million from 107 countries since Tuesday. Add in domestic's $151.1 million and, all told, Spider-Man 3 generated $381.7 million, which tops Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith's $303.9 million as the highest-grossing worldwide debut of all time—a notable feat but one achieved mostly through the sheer mass of the release.
• 'Spider-Man' Special Briefing
• Review - Spider-Man 3
• 7/10/06 - 'Pirates' Raid Record Books
• 5/8/06 - 'Mission: Impossile III' Doesn't Thrill (Same Weekend, 2006)
• 5/9/05 - 'Kingdom' of Limbo, 'House' of Lax (Same Weekend, 2005)
• 5/6/02 - 'Spider-Man' Takes Box Office on Ultimate Spin
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All Time Opening Weekends
• All Time - Past Weekend Records
• All Time - Biggest Weekend Gaps
NOTE: This report was originally written on Sunday, May 6 and was revised on Monday, May 7 with actual grosses.