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Web-slinger a soph swinger

$72 mil encore lifts Spidey to $223 million

Peter Parker picked a pair of winning weekends.

Sony’s “Spider-Man,” the comix-adaptation about a young man and his amazing webbed feats, wowed once again with an estimated $72 million soph sesh built on a modest 37% drop from its opening perf.

Spidey leaped past $200 million in box office with record haste, crossing that milestone in only its ninth day Saturday en route to an estimated cume of $223.6 million through Sunday.

A couple frosh entries took their B.O. hazing in stride this weekend. 20th Century Fox/New Regency’s sexy suspenser “Unfaithful” wooed an estimated $14.2 million in second place, and Sony/Revolution’s “The New Guy” introduced itself with $9.5 million in B.O.

But MGM’s gang drama “Deuces Wild” and DreamWorks’ Woody Allen laffer “Hollywood Ending” got beat up a second time after bowing against “Spidey” last frame. Both fell from the B.O. top 10, as “Deuces” dealt an estimated $1.2 million ($4.8 million cume) in a 57% plummet from its opening, and “Ending” grossed $1 million ($3.6 million) in tumbling 49%.

Industrywide, weekend’s $123 million in total grosses repped a 54% improvement over the same frame a year ago, according to data from B.O. tracker Nielsen EDI. Year-to-date, 2002 is 18% ahead of the same portion of last year at $2.94 billion in total grosses.

Already healthy ’02 B.O. gets a big shot in the arm Thursday when Fox bows “Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones” in 3,300-plus theaters. Universal Focus offers lit-adapted laffer “About a Boy” as a counter-programming ploy in about 1,100 venues Friday, with plans to add another 500 locations the following weekend.

“Spider-Man” — which glommed 59% of industrywide grosses this weekend — added a biggest-ever soph sesh to its bag of B.O. records. “Spidey” topped a four-day second weekend for “Star Wars: Episode One – the Phantom Menace” of $66.9 million in 1999; it also passed scifier for speediest dash to $200 mil.

Pre-frame, some thought it unlikely “Spidey” — for all its fan-base stickiness — could hold more than 50% of its opening B.O. this sesh after opening at super-saturation release levels.

‘Spider’ hangs in

“That’s probably Spider-Man’s biggest gravity-defying feat ever,” Sony marketing and distrib topper Jeff Blake enthused over the “Spidey” hold. “You gotta love that.”

Fox and New Regency execs hope for similar stick-to-itiveness from “Unfaithful.” Skewing to older femmes, Richard Gere-Diane Lane starrer has a $14.3 million cume over five days, after bowing in exclusive L.A. and Gotham engagements Wednesday.

“We consider it the grown-up alternative to the popcorn films,” Fox exec veep distribution Rick Myerson said. “So, you don’t look for the humongous opening but hope to continue playing at this high level.”

Brass at Sony and Revolution Studios were pleased with the bow of modestly budgeted “New Guy.” Sony’s Blake projected a tidy profit in forecasting an eventual domestic cume of about $30 million.

‘Lady’ enters

Among weekend’s limited bows, Sony Classics unspooled French drama “The Lady and the Duke” in five L.A. and Gotham theaters to gross an estimated $26,200, or $5,240 per venue.

Distrib’s India drama “Lagaan” commenced single L.A. and Gotham engagements with $9,602 in weekend grosses, or $4,801 per playdate. Period pic sports a $10,591 cume due to a five-day run in Manhattan.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, IFC Films expanded laffer “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” by 101 engagements for a total 249 and grossed an estimated $1.1 million, or $4,424 per playdate with a $4 million cume.

Distrib added nine locations for Spanish-language “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and rang up $622,995, or $2,141 per site with a $9.3 million cume.

ThinkFilm’s Ismael Merchant-helmed “Mystic Masseur” maintained a pair of Gotham engagements to gross $19,114. Cume reached $44,986 a week before “Masseur” stretches to top-12 markets.

A couple of pics set to unspool over the Memorial Day frame staged limited sneak showings this weekend.

‘Stallion’ peek

DreamWorks’ trad-tooner “Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron” drew 70% capacity auds to 500 sneex, with 90% of patrons rating pic “excellent” or “very good,” DreamWorks distrib boss Jim Tharp said. Auds skewed 88% family, with girls comprising 58% of the kid constituency.

Sony filled 593 sneaks of Jennifer Lopez starrer “Enough” to 60% of capacity. Thriller drew 55% female auds, with 55% of patrons age 25 and older.

No sneaks are planned for Warner Bros.’ Al Pacino suspenser “Insomnia,” which is also skedded for release over the Memorial Day sesh and was preemed at the recent Tribeca film fest.