'Spider-Man,' 'About a Boy' Survive and Thrive Under 'Attack'

by Brandon Gray
May 20, 2002

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones may have been stealing the headlines with its $80,027,814 weekend, but the box office pie expanded to allow strong business for a number of other pictures, namely the amazing Spider-Man.

If ever there was a movie that could render the most hardened box office analyst speechless with wonderment, it's Spidey.

The $130 million Marvel Comics adaptation defied gravity again, falling 37% to $45,036,912, handily setting yet another precedent in the process: biggest third weekend ever. Titanic was the former record holder with $33,315,278, a gross buoyed by the New Year's holiday.

After 17 days, Spider-Man has amassed a super-powered $285,573,668, leaping at No. 15 on the all time chart behind Home Alone ($285,761,243) and ahead of last summer's top grosser Shrek ($267,665,011). Spidey also swung past Batman's $251,188,924 to become the highest grossing comic book movie of all time and eclipsed Men in Black's $250,690,539 to become Sony's top grossing movie ever.

Spider-Man's also en route to becoming the fastest movie to scale $300 million, a feat it should pull off by its 22nd day of release (May 24). What's more, its trajectory points to a final gross north of $425 million, which would surpass both Batman and Superman even when ticket price inflation is taken into account.

At No. 3, Unfaithful starring Diane Lane and a cuckolded Richard Gere continued to steam up movie screens, falling just 29% to $10,013,104. Attracting audiences with a sultry marketing campaign featuring a memorably sweeping score, the total for the erotic thriller has risen to $29,535,202 million in 10 days.

Already a smash success in Britain, About a Boy counter-programmed to success, bowing in fourth place with $8,557,630 from 1,207 theaters for a solid $7,090 per site average. The audience for the $27 million Hugh Grant romantic comedy skewed overwhelmingly female (69%) and over the age of 30 (72%). Opening night moviegoers gave it a B+, according to CinemaScore, tying the grades for Grant's previous British romantic comedies Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary. Distributor Universal will add about 500 theaters to Boy's run next weekend.

Rounding out the top five was Spider-Man's Sony stable mate The New Guy. The $13 million teen comedy retreated a mere 28% to $6,478,078, scoring $17,305,157 in 10 days.

The top 12 pictures grossed $162,632,040, with Clones accounting for nearly half that sum and Spider-Man making up over a quarter of it. Business was up 41.0% from last weekend and a massive 69.1% from the same frame last year when Shrek gobbled up $42,347,760 from 3,587 theaters at No. 1 on its way to $267,665,011. Jennifer Lopez' Angel Eyes debuted with an earthly $9,225,575 from 2,375 en route to $24,174,218.

< < < 'Attack of the Clones' analysis.

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