Daily Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
July 3, 2012
There are two distinct aspects to today’s box office analysis. The first is the daily performance by the titles technically in release yesterday. The second is the debut of The Amazing Spider-Man, which is what matters to most of you.
Since I believe in eating dessert instead of salads, I’ll start with the fourth Spider-Man movie. History will remember The Amazing Spider-Man as a Tuesday release, when in reality it debuted last night. 3,150 locations exhibited Andrew Garfield’s first attempt to convince consumers that Tobey Maguire is replaceable. Many of you would maintain that Spider-Man 3 did this without Garfield’s help. Not coincidentally, Maguire was not pushed hard when he demonstrated reticence to return to the role.
Out with the old and in with the new is one of the entertainment industry’s favorite sayings, with the reason why being obvious. Newer means cheaper. Garfield is a virtual unknown, his key role in The Social Network notwithstanding. By casting him, the studio was able to maintain a budget of only $220 million. Stop giggling. Spider-Man 3 cost almost $40 million more. Webslinging ain’t cheap. Still, such a massive production budget is indicative of a project with the highest of expectations. Yes, The Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot of sorts, Sony’s expectation is that this project is like Batman in that any movie with this character should be blockbuster.
Sony’s relief began overseas as the new Spidey movie earned over $50 million prior to its North American release. This may not strike you as a lot in this day and age, but the Spider-Man franchise has always proven more popular in North America. Consider that all three Sam Raimi movies finished third for their years of release abroad. Conversely, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3 were the top films in North America during their calendar years while Spider-Man 2 finished second to Shrek 2.
For all of the record setting performances of the Spider-Man franchise thus far, its international performances have not quite been as dominant. They are still great, don’t get me wrong, but Spider-Man matters more on this side of the Atlantic. For the movie to perform so well in limited markets abroad is huge in that The Amazing Spider-Man has already accrued almost 10% of what Spider-Man 3 managed during its entire international run.
The great news continued with midnight showings as The Amazing Spider-Man earned a solid $7.5 million. Analysts instantly pointed out that this total effectively matches Spider-Man 3 in 2007. There are two sides of this coin, and you can select the one you like. With 3D and IMAX ticket pricing, The Amazing Spider-Man undeniably sold much fewer tickets than its predecessor. Given the state of the franchise in the wake of Spider-Man 3, however, a dollar for dollar match is probably better than Sony Pictures had anticipated.
Consider the recent comparisons of X-Men and Batman. These other comic book properties have experienced spectacular box office over the years, but the film quality of certain titles featuring Wolverine and Mr. Freeze were…lacking. When reboots were attempted with each one, there was a natural reduction in consumer demand for the follow-up or “apology” projects.