By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood May 3, 2014 at 1:52PM
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (Sony) grossed around $35.5 million for its opening (including $8.7 million from Thursday night shows), with a likely weekend domestic total around $90 million or a bit more. The film is doing as well as expected, and as of Thursday it had already grossed over $150 million in initial strong international dates -- with many territories, including highly anticipated China, still to open.
Though strong, this initial gross falls just short of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (Buena Vista), which impressed with $37 million a month ago. But among the omnipresent Marvel character films, it lags far behind last year's opening for "Iron Man 3" -- 2013's biggest domestic film -- which scored $69 million for its opening day. Comparisons to the initial reboot for "Spider-Man" two years ago are tougher to make, since it opened on the Tuesday of the 2012 July 4th weekend, skewing the numbers. That film took in $35 million for its first day plus early shows.
Given its strong initial foreign take, "Spider-Man 2" looks like it will hit its marks for Sony for its overall openings. The studio reports decent holds in many of its already-playing territories. How it holds in the U.S. remains to be seen. Both "Iron Man 3" and the recent "Captain America" sustained themselves well both here and abroad. The film's initial B+ Cinemascore (the previous edition scored A-) suggests grosses might be more front-ended. Between production and marketing expenses, it has been projected that the film exceeded $400 million, while industry estimates reveal that the worldwide theatrical take needs to exceed $700 million to make this profitable. So at this point, "Spider-Man 2" looks to have had the required start to achieve its goal, though the final verdict remains uncertain. The rest of the weekend will provide more initial, though not necessarily decisive, clues.
It's clear that this is going to be only the second weekend in more than five months in which the Top 10 gross will fall short of last year's. The shortfall for Friday is huge -- $51 million compared to $79 million in 2013. Through Thursday, year-to-date grosses were up 9%. But the four "summer" months rebounded strongly in 2013 after a weak start, with "Iron Man 3" and last May's other openings leading the way. "Spider-Man 2" can't by any means be called weak -- again, it seems to be grossing in the hoped-for range.
But with by far the largest share of any year's returns in the middle four months -- January-April are always much lower -- starting off with a big deficit is something to note, at least.
The #2 and 3 films held quite well, with the Cameron Diaz-starring comedy "The Other Woman" (20th Century Fox) taking in $4.8 million, falling less than half from last Friday and looking to have a decent second weekend. Sony's sleeper success "Heaven Is for Real" also continues to hold well, with $2.4 million. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" felt the impact of new competition more, falling to #4 and just under $2.1 million.
The rest of the Top 10 all managed less than $2 million for the day. Only "Rio 2" (20th Century Fox) at $1,725,000 and the second Friday of "Brick Mansions" (Relativity) at $1.1 million (down more than two-thirds from its Friday last week) managed to even do half that amount.
Rounding out the top 10, with grosses between $650,000 and $475,000, were, in order, "The Quiet Ones" (Lionsgate), "Divergent" (Lionsgate), "God's Not Dead" (Freestyle) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Fox Searchlight). The last two films actually look to return to the weekend Top 10 despite falling grosses because of the greatest weakness of films that out-tallied them last week, including "Transcendence," which looks to drop out after only two weeks.