''Spider-Man'' earns a record $114 million. Spidey beat Harry Potter's six-month-old opening weekend record
Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Credit: Spider-Man: Zade Rosenthal

”Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever Harry Potter can…” And then some.

Breaking the all-time record for an opening weekend, ”Spider-Man” blasted into theaters this weekend and exceeded anyone’s wildest expectations, taking in an unbeliveable $114 million, according to studio estimates. That blew away the existing three-day record, ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s” 90.6 million take from last November. It even topped ”The Lost World: Jurassic Park”’s $92.7 million holiday-weekend benchmark. These are numbers that nobody saw coming.

How did this happen? Simple, in retrospect. ”Spider-Man” is a film franchise that appeals to audiences young and old, male and female. (Remember: The character’s been around for much longer than young Mr. Potter.) The opening weekend audience was split evenly by age and gender. Young fans rushed out to see the flick, starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, lest they be the only ones who didn’t see the film in its first three days of release.

And older moviegoers were swayed by the tremendous advance publicity and, more significantly, by the film’s mostly strong reviews. Plus, as the first ”summer movie” of the year, it had virtually no competition. All that means that ”Spider-Man” far outgrossed all the other films in the marketplace and became the first movie to earn $100 million in three days.

The news, therefore, was not too great for Spidey’s competition. ”The Scorpion King” was a way distant No. 2 with $9.6 million, while ”Changing Lanes” managed a third-place finish with $5.6 million. Rounding out the top five were Sandra Bullock’s ”Murder by Numbers” with $3.8 million and the word-of-mouth hit ”The Rookie” with $3.3 million.

The week’s two other new entries flopped miserably. The gang drama ”Deuces Wild,” starring Matt Dillon and Stephen Dorff, placed seventh with only $2.7 million, while Woody Allen’s latest, ”Hollywood Ending,” barely cracked the top 10 with only $2.2 million, an even worse debut than last year’s ”The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.” Next time, Mr. Allen, try casting an arachnid.

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The Scorpion King
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