Spidey Transforms But Is No Transformers
By John Hamann
July 8, 2012
What an interesting web the summer box office weaves this year, as another weekend brings lots to talk about at the box office. Sony's Spider-Man reboot opened this weekend with a new approach and star, and while the brand is transforming well on screen, the opening weekend failed to match that of Paramount's Transformers at the box office, which also opened on the Tuesday before the Independence Day long weekend back in 2007. Katy Perry and that Savage Oliver Stone also opened films this weekend, to interesting results, and Ted and Magic Mike went in different directions. Still, the story is Spidey and whether or not it was rebooted too early.
Following a Monday to Sunday box office total of $140 million, our obvious box office champion over the July 4th long weekend is Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man. Its box office totals will be heralded today in the press; however, the question to ask is how these totals hold up against similar films? Comparing the box office of reboot films like The Amazing Spider-Man and Batman Begins is ludicrous, as Warner Bros. had destroyed the Batman brand with Batman & Robin (Clooney/Schwarzenegger, 13% fresh), and was fighting to be simply relevant again – without the Ahnold jokes (“Let's kick some ice”). The much better comparison for The Amazing Spider-Man is 2007's Transformers, a film that was also an expensive fanboy Part One, and also because it opened on the Tuesday prior to Independence Day.
If you've read David Mumpower's excellent Daily Box Office Analysis, you know that The Amazing Spider-Man got off to a solid $35.9 million start on Tuesday (including Monday sneaks). You also know that Transformers earned $36.7 million by Tuesday, which similarly included Monday sneaks. Because of the midnight showings, it's hard to argue one way or the other about each film, so let's look at the actual July 4th, which was Wednesday. The Amazing Spider-Man took in only $23.3 million versus Transformers' $29.1 million, which means that Spider-Man was 20% back of Michael Bay's 2007 monstrosity. That's bad news, considering Transformers didn't roll out to 3D screens and higher ticket prices. Thursday's numbers weren't any better. The Amazing Spider-Man's third full day came in at $15.8 million, $3.4 million behind the $19.2 million that Transformers put up. Before the weekend proper began, Spidey lagged Transformers by nearly $10 million.
The race got closer on Friday night, but The Amazing Spider-Man still lagged. Transformers earned $22.7 million over its first Friday, where Spider-Man earned $20.7 million. There was no longer a chance for Spider-Man to catch the Michael Bay release, and the weekend wasn't half over. The three-day, Friday-to-Sunday estimate for The Amazing Spider-Man is $65 million, well back of Transformers' $70.5 million. The opening-to-Sunday totals also show a gap. In that time frame, the toy-based Paramount production had earned $155.4 million. Since opening, the Mark Webb version of Spider-Man has tallied $140 million. To all the people out there who are foaming at the mouth, saying that's a lot of money, I don't disagree. But after seeing three-day totals this year that have come in at $207.4 million (The Avengers) and $152.5 million (The Hunger Games), one has to wonder if Sony has left money on the table. The last Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie opened to an even higher $151 million, but that was only over three days instead of six. Spider-Man 3 earned $176 million after six days.