Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 6)

Spider-Man (2002)

  - Set a new record for the biggest opening weekend with $114.8m
  - Had the biggest second weekend ($71.4m) and third weekend ($45.0m) ever
  - Was the fastest to gross $100m (3 days), $200m (9 days),  and $300m (22 days)
  - Became only the second original film to gross over $400m in its initial release (Titanic being the other one; E.T. only surpassed the mark on its 20-year anniversary release)

Predictions Comparison:
  - BOG: $80m; Brandon Gray: $84.7m; BOM Derby: $73.8m

Harry Potter was the first film where the possibility of a triple-digit opening weekend was floated around, and when it failed to achieve the mark, nobody expected that Spider-Man would be the one to break through merely six months later.  In fact, few thought it could reach Harry Potter's new record of $90.3m.  Instead, Spider-Man shattered it by 27.1% while playing on fewer screens (7,500 vs. 8,100).  While it is true that early May had just become a popular new date to launch the first summer blockbuster with the success of The Mummy Returns ($68.1m), immediately going from there to $114.8m is utterly remarkable any way we look at it.

The opening weekend alone would have warranted a consideration for the list, but what happened next elevated Spider-Man to another level.  First it dropped an excellent 37.8% to set a new second weekend record, and then came the second jaw-dropper: it fell just 36.9% against the opening of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.  At least the second weekend could be explained by the lack of competition and the fact that Harry Potter dropped a comparable 36.3% on its sophomore frame, but an even better hold against a $80m behemoth from the biggest box office franchise in history?  It also continued to hold up well after that and almost completely overshadowed Attack of the Clones for the duration of its run.

Spider-Man provided a blueprint for future success stories and indicated what was possible for films such as Shrek 2 and The Dark Knight, and it surpassed the original expectation by a mighty impressive amount as well ($400m vs. $200-250m), so I did not hesitate to put it higher on the list.


  1. Errr, Spider-Man didn't gross over $100m in two days exactly (or $200m in nine days for that matter) but inflated numbers you were talking about that is?

  2. It did pass $200m in 9 days, but the 2 days for $100m was a typo. Fixed, and thanks!