Sony's superhero nabs $375 million worldwide

“Spider-Man 3″ spun a wide B.O. web over the weekend, riding a record 4,252 theater count to $148 million — shattering the record for biggest opening weekend at the North American B.O.

Sony’s third pic based on the Marvel superhero character also leapt easily over several other major box office records, including biggest opening day of all time, with $59 million, and biggest worldwide opening weekend, with $375 million.

The exuberance of Sony brass was evident Sunday morning, as they trumpeted the likelihood of not just another sequel but multiple sequels.

“There’ll be a fourth and a fifth and sixth and a seventh,” Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal told Daily Variety. “As many stories as Peter Parker has to tell, we’ll do sequels.”

“Spider-Man 3″ easily surpassed the previous record holder for biggest domestic opening day and weekend, Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” which raked in $55.8 million in a single day when it bowed last July for a three-day tally of $135.6 million.

“Spider-Man 3″ pushed total B.O. from the top 10 pics on the weekend combined up to $174 million, according to B.O. data service Rentrak, from just $93.9 million over the same frame a year ago, when “Mission: Impossible 3″ debuted to an underwhelming $47.7 million.

Pic resonated globally as well, as Spidey stuck $227 million in his web from 107 overseas launches over the weekend, according to estimates. Movie saw the biggest-ever opening weekend in at least 26 of its world launches, Sony estimated, including Japan, Italy and Mexico, and its $375 million worldwide tally smashed the previous world launch record, held by Fox’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which collected $303 million in 2005. Sony’s aggressive move into 4,252 North American theaters for “Spider-Man 3″ marked the widest opening ever, and it paid off with an eye-popping per-location average of $34,807. (Marking yet another record, that was the biggest per-theater average ever for a wide release, beating out the $33,296 for “X-Men: The Last Stand” last year.)

Pic posted its strong tallies, the studio hypothesized, by appealing to wider demos than the previous Spidey installment, bringing in the family and date crowds. Exit polls revealed that 63% of opening weekend auds domestically were under 25, while 54% were male. And the movie succeeded without the benefit of the critical support enjoyed by the first two entries in the series.

Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman-CEO Michael Lynton said he saw this pic as “more of a family film” vs. “Spider-Man 2,” which “had more scenes that were scarier” to young auds.

Howard Stringer, Sony Corp.’s chairman and CEO, told Daily Variety at the pic’s Gotham preem that he felt the film was more of a date movie than the last pic, which could corral a well-balanced turnout.

Pic’s perf was good news for Hollywood overall in what’s hoped to be a record-breaking summer for the movie biz: Further high-profile sequels are lining up to bow in the “Shrek,” “Pirates” and “Harry Potter” franchises.

But that also means Peter Parker has just one more weekend to himself before the onslaught of competition begins.After the domestic box office saw a couple of lackluster weekends at the multiplexes, Spidey set house records at several U.S. theaters. The top-grossing locations in the pic’s record-breaking opening day were Sony’s Lincoln Square in Gotham and L.A.’s upscale ArcLight cinema.

Pic’s popularity created ripple effects at some cinemas: At the AMC CityWalk 19 multiplex in Los Angeles, parking attendants were warning patrons at 11:30 a.m. Saturday not to shell out money for parking because all showings of the pic for the entire day were already sold out.

Among other impressive stats posted by the webslinger:

  • Pic was the second ever to cross $100 million in two days, after “Dead Man’s Chest,” according to Nielsen EDI.

  • It scored the highest single Saturday take ever, with $51 million, beating out “Shrek 2,” which drew $44.8 million two years ago. “Spider-Man 3″ was also was on track to reap the biggest ever Sunday take, too.

  • Movie saw the biggest Imax opening ever, with $4.8 million off 84 runs, beating out the pumped-up numbers for recent action epic “300.”

The film also outpaced the previous two pics in the “Spider-Man” franchise: The last entry had an opening frame take of $88.1 million, and the first film swung to $114.8 million over three days back in 2002.

Sony also put stock on Sunday morning in its strategy of launching numerous preems around the globe in advance of the film’s U.S. launch in order to get international markets buzzing for the Sam Raimi-helmed feature.

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