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Spidey 3 breaks opening day records

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SATURDAY UPDATE

Spider-Man 3 broke box office records on Friday by grossing an estimated $59 million domestically, the best opening-day and single-day take of any movie in history (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was the previous leader, having earned $55.8 mil on its first day). Sony also reports that Spidey brought in $104 mil worldwide yesterday, another record. The studio estimates that the third installment of the Peter Parker saga will gross between $135 million and $145 million this weekend; we’ll have the full report on EW.com tomorrow. In the meantime, consider this: In one day, the film is already the ninth-best grosser of 2007.

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It’s finally here, people. The day hath arrived. The movie we’ve all been waiting for is in multiplexes at last. That’s right: Lucky You opens today!

Hee hee. No, you know what the real story is this weekend. The only story. Spider-Man 3 is coming out in a record number of theaters (4,252 to be exact, trumping Shrek 2‘s 4,223) and it’s gonna be a big winner. Huge winner. I mean, we barely even need to talk about it (well, okay, I have to). Already, this comic-book franchise flick has broken all sorts of record overseas, where it debuted a few days ago. And since I know that you’re itching to get your bum to the multiplex and sit back and be wooed by the smooth stylings of Topher Grace for two-plus hours, I’ll cut right to the chase: If you vote for any other film to be No. 1 in the poll below, may the Sandman come and smite you or force-feed you some codeine or whatever it is that he does. Now, have some spidey sense, box office fans, and read on.

THE (LIKELY) TOP FIVE

Spider-Man 3
Columbia · PG-13 · 4,252 theaters · NEW
Man, it seems like just yesterday when I went out to my mailbox on a sunny afternoon in 1997 and picked up EW issue No. 382. Right there on the cover was a toothy velociraptor snarling next to the headline, ”Lost Weekend! How the Studio Guaranteed a $100 Million Hit.” And the inside story was all about how The Lost World: Jurassic Park had just scored The Biggest Opening of All Time… with $72.1 mil. Yep, $72.1 mil! Ah, those were the days. Now, 10 years later, The Lost World‘s record is long gone; that film currently stands at No. 18 on the list of the top three-day openers (and after this weekend it’ll be No. 19). Since the first Spider-Man pulled a Chuck Yeager and broke a box-office barrier with its $114.8 mil debut in 2002, five other films have premiered north of $100 mil — most notably Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, which earned $135.6 mil in its opening last summer. I mean, hell, this kind of boffo bow is becoming so common, even fake movies like Vincent Chase’s Aquaman bring in well over $100 mil with ease. This is just what these automatic blockbusters do nowadays, and it sure seems like nobody — neither competitors (most of whom steer way clear of these dates) nor reviewers (lord knows, nobody’s gonna skip Spidey 3 this weekend because it’s scoring a so-so 60 out of 100 on Metacritic.com) — can stop them.
Weekend prediction: $136 million

Lucky You
Warner Bros. · PG-13 · 2,525 theaters · NEW
After gathering dust on the shelf for nearly two years, this poker romance (hey, a new genre!) starring the great Eric Bana and People‘s ”Most Beautiful” cover girl Drew Barrymore has the dubious honor of opening opposite what’s likely to be the biggest movie premiere in history. Talk about crapping out! Oh, and then there’s the fact that the poker craze isn’t nearly as popular as it was when Lucky You was greenlit way back in 2003. And the fact that Bana and Barrymore have shaky bankability in dramas (see: Munich‘s $47.4 mil total gross and Riding in Cars With Boys‘ $30.2 mil). And so on. You know, nobody should be counting their money when they’re sittin’ at the table this time. But shouldn’t we give this movie — directed by L.A. Confidential / 8 Mile mastermind Curtis Hanson — a chance? Certainly, Warner Bros. hopes we will, positioning the film as an alternative for all the grownups who don’t want to bother themselves with that Spider-Man kid stuff. There’s also a theory that Lucky You could benefit from overflow traffic generated when people can’t get into sold-out Spidey screenings. That is, if they don’t just go home.
Weekend prediction: (lucky number) $7 million

Disturbia
Paramount · PG-13 · 3,132 theaters · 4th weekend
Three weeks in a row it finished at No. 1, and three weeks in a row I predicted it wouldn’t get there. Mea culpa! I’m sorry, Disturbia! I feel so bad about this — especially because I like you a lot: Your hero, Shia LaBeouf, is charming and magnetic, and your villain, David Morse, is creepy as heck. Anyway, after your $53 mil tally in three weeks, the spotlight has shifted to another movie. And, fortunately for me, I can no longer be embarrassed by your continued, unexpected success.
Weekend prediction: $6 million

Fracture
New Line · R · 2,365 theaters · 3rd weekend
The thriller’s $22 mil-plus overall take isn’t impressive. But, hey, something’s gotta be in fourth place.
Weekend prediction: $5 million

Next
Paramount · PG-13 · 2,733 theaters · 2nd weekend
The sci-fi flick’s $8 mil-plus overall take isn’t impressive. But, hey, something’s gotta be in fifth place.
Weekend prediction: $3 million

Box Office Poll

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