Can ''Star Wars'' whip red-hot ''Spider-Man''? Director George Lucas says setting box office records isn't important to him ? and that may be a good thing
Tobey Maguire, Hayden Christensen, ...
Credit: Anakin Skywalker: © & TM Lucasfilm, Ltd.; Peter Parker: Zade Rosenthal

Talk about spin control: Last weekend ”Spider-Man” brought in $72 million for a 10-day total of nearly $225 million. But don’t declare the Webbed One this summer’s box office bad boy just yet. Thursday, May 16, ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” elbows its way into theaters. With fans already lining up for tickets, can Obi-Wan and company best ”Spider-Man”’s numbers?

Although ”Episode II” may have a chance to win in the long run, it’s unlikely to top Spidey’s record-breaking debut weekend. After all, ”Spider-Man” opened opposite flops like ”Hollywood Ending” and ”Deuces Wild.” ”Attack,” meanwhile, will be facing off against Universal’s Hugh Grant comedy ”About A Boy” and, oh yeah, ”Spider-Man.” ”If ‘Attack’ was opening alone, it might have a chance,” says ReelSource media analyst Adam Farasati, who thinks the film will bring in a little over $90 million in its first four days — impressive but well below ”Spider-Man”’s astronomical $114.8 million first weekend take (in three days).

But ”Spider-Man” anticipated smaller opening. Director George Lucas himself is hurting his chances by limiting the number of theaters allowed to show the film. Although Fox has yet to release a final number, Gitesh Pandya, editor of, estimates that the studio will likely ship 6,000 prints, 1,500 fewer than Sony released for ”Spider-Man.”

The reason? The ”Star Wars” mastermind is being picky about where his movie is shown, trying to choose venues equipped with audio-visual equipment advanced enough to wow audiences with the movie’s CGI wizardry. ”I want it to be in high-quality theaters. I want to have digital sound,” Lucas recently told Reuters. ”I don’t have to break records. It doesn’t make any difference to me.” Still, Pandya thinks that ”Clones” will gross at least $105 million over its four-day opening weekend.

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