''Spider-Man'' will hold off Will Ferrell. Not even ''Anchorman'' can outnet Spidey, though both will leave ''King Arthur'' in the dust

By Gary Susman
Updated July 09, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Spider-Man 2: Melissa Moseley

Peter Parker may be a sad sack, but no one nets money faster than Spidey. As of Wednesday, ”Spider-Man 2” had topped the $200 million mark in just eight days, beating the nine-day record set by its predecessor two years ago. Now, the movie is on track to earn $250 million after just its second weekend. Even with an anticipated 50 percent drop from last weekend’s sales, ”Spider-Man 2” could earn another $47 million between Friday and Sunday.

Not even Will Ferrell’s network news nitwit should top ”Spidey”’s net sales. Still, the ”Elf” star can do no wrong these days, and his Ron Burgundy character has been ubiquitous on TV lately. With no other slapstick comedy competition, ”Anchorman”’s 2,900-screen opening should earn $37 million.

Next to ”Spider-Man” and ”Anchorman,” a certain Englishman will be an also-ran. That would be ”King Arthur,” a film likely to prove that producer Jerry Bruckheimer (”Pirates of the Caribbean,” TV’s ”CSI” franchise) isn’t quite the brand name he thinks he is, and that not even ”Pirates” star Keira Knightley as a leather-clad warrior princess is enough to sell tickets to a movie that takes most of the fun and pageantry out of the Arthur legend. After Wednesday’s weak $4.8 million opening, ”Arthur” should muster $21 million for the weekend on its 3,000 screens.

Besides ”Anchorman,” there’s a proven comedy that indicts TV news for its shallowness. That’s ”Fahrenheit 9/11,” which shows little sign of slowing down. The agit-doc expands to 2,000 screens on Friday, so its third weekend sales drop should be modest (about a third below last weekend), resulting in about $10 million more for Michael Moore’s movie.

Crawling in at No. 5 will be ”Sleepover,” which is not likely to be a sleeper hit. The teen-girl comedy starring ”Spy Kids” heroine Alexa Vega opens on 2,000 screens, but meager publicity and other girl-power options (like Knightley’s Guinevere) could keep the film’s earnings down to a less-than-dreamy $6 million. Still, when it comes out on video, it could be a big hit at pajama parties.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 91 minutes
  • Adam McKay