Weekend Wrap-Up

Spider-Man 3 and Box Office Plummet Together

By John Hamann

May 13, 2007

Thomas Haden Church ponders on how much he misses Paul Giamatti.

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It's amazing to think that just a weekend ago, it was high times at the box office. Spider-Man 3 had just taken the record for biggest weekend ever and the overall box office was way up compared to the previous year. It's only a weekend later, and Spidey has tumbled badly but expectedly, while none of the four openers had much impact on the box office whatsoever. Luckily, last year was a quagmire during the early May blockbuster season, so at least studios can brag that this weekend carries a small uptick over last year. Because of the massive lull, Shrek the Third is the biggest winner this weekend, and it didn't even open yet.

The number one film of the weekend is obviously Spider-Man 3 - the question was how big the drop was going to be. The Marvel hero grossed $60.0 million, a number that would have been great for any other film for opening weekend, let alone a follow-up weekend. The trouble comes when comparing Spidey's opening weekend figure of $151.1 million to its sophomore weekend gross. Spider-Man 3 lost a huge 60% of its audience and missed its opportunity to become the fastest opener to reach $200 million. It reached that mark on Saturday, its eighth day of release, tying Spider-Man 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Considering the fact that Spidey 3 beat Dead Man's Chest over opening weekend by more than $15 million, the Sony crime fighter should have had no problem crossing $200 million in seven days.

As I said above, being a blockbuster sequel, Spider-Man 3 was sure to have a hefty drop in its second frame; however, with school still in session, Monday-through-Thursday figures for Spidey were also low. This could have led some to believe that a bigger audience would come out on the weekend. It wasn't to be. At 60%, Spider-Man 3 lost a staggering $91.1 million compared to its opening weekend. Let's see how that compares to some of the other second weekend drops by the biggest films of all time. The second biggest opener ever, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($135.6 million open) dropped 54% to $62 million over its second frame. The first Spider-Man movie actually out-grossed the third in its second frame, as it earned $71.4 million and had a 38% drop. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith opened to $108 million, but had a $50 million Thursday prior to opening. Despite not having its biggest day counted into its weekend tally, it still dropped 49% in its sophomore frame. Shrek 2, after opening to $108 million, dropped only 33% in its second frame, but that was due to a number of different reasons, one of which was that its second frame landed on Memorial Day (and it had one of the shrewdest opening strategies in the history of movies). Finally we have X-Men: The Last Stand, which opened to $102.8 million, and dropped a nightmarish 67% in its second frame (blame Brett Ratner, I do).


Spider-Man 3 now sits with a total of $242.1 million, and the question now is where does it go from here? After X-Men: The Last Stand dropped 67%, I thought its weekend drops might lift a bit following its second frame. It wasn't to be, as that Marvel product had follow-up drops of 53% and 51%. If something similar were to happen here, we will be looking for a $30 million-ish weekend in the next frame, which would put Spidey 3 on the path to about $350 million at the domestic box office. Reagen Sulewski mentioned in BOP's Weekend Forecast that Spider-Man 3 could be the first film since The Lost World to open as the biggest weekend earner off all time to then fail to earn a top ten spot amongst the biggest overall domestic earners of all time.

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