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‘Spider-Man 3’ spins worldwide web

Film beats Sony's box office estimates

When all the coin caught in “Spider-Man 3’s” worldwide web was counted up over the weekend, the B.O. tallies were even higher than Sony estimated on Sunday, giving the wall-crawler $382 million worldwide.

That enhanced Spidey’s record for biggest worldwide opening ever after the studio had estimated that the pic took in $375 million.

“Spider-Man 3” raked in more moolah than the studio estimated both domestically and internationally, taking in $151 million in North America for the biggest Stateside bow of all time.

That beat last year’s $135.6 million booty for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

Sony had estimated Sunday that Spidey swung to $148 million as the weekend wound down, but day three of the release continued to bring in boffo box office.

Adjusted numbers released Monday also beefed up the webslinger’s per-theater average, totaling $35,540 off 4,252 domestic locations.

Pic unspooled at more than 8,900 theaters abroad, taking in $231 million in international ticket sales; Sony had estimated $227 million on Sunday.

Internationally, pic was No. 1 in all 107 territories in which it debuted and saw the biggest weekend ever in 29 markets — three more than had been estimated — including Japan, South Korea, China, Italy, Mexico and Brazil.

Adding to the growing “Spider-Man 3” records, pic posted the biggest single day in global ticket sales Saturday, with $117,631,328 in receipts.

Spidey stalked big numbers in every territory in which it opened, with few, if any, weak links in his web. SPE vice chairman Jeff Blake said the pic based on the Marvel character corralled 80% of those who went to the movies worldwide over the weekend.

In genre pic-crazed South Korea, for example, “Spider-Man 3” tripled the B.O. of the previous weekend record holder, local sensation “The Host.”

Japanese biz was the highest at $26.6 million — up $100,000 from Sunday projections — followed by the U.K. with $23.6 million, up $700,000 from Sunday estimates.

French receipts were also boosted by $700,000 to $22.5 million.

In Italy, pic smashed the first weekend mark set by Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code,” a phenom there, by 24%.

Not all territories were up when final tickets were counted, however: Sunday heat drove down receipts in Germany, which declined $1.4 million to $13.7 million.

But the overall upward adjustment left “Spider-Man 3” as the biggest foreign grosser among 2007 pics, surpassing “300” by over $2 million.

As with “300,” Imax played a role in Spidey’s success with the techie crowd: Movie set a record for the largest domestic gross in domestic Imax theaters, with $4.8 million. Virtually all shows were sellouts, according to Imax brass.

Studios can be tightlipped about their sequel strategies, but Sony honchos Sunday mentioned solid plans for the fourth pic in the series and tipped their hands to more.

Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal said, “As many stories as Peter Parker has to tell, we’ll do sequels.”

Movie will head into its second weekend with a possible $200 million under its belt and smooth sailing for now: Wide releases taking on the webhead this weekend include Fox Atomic’s sci-fi sequel “28 Weeks Later,” Lionsgate comedy “Delta Farce,” MGM’s “The Ex” and Universal drama “Georgia Rule.”

But Paramount and DreamWorks’ favorite ogre will soon be heading back to theaters, as “Shrek the Third” opens on May 18, which could give Spidey more trouble than the Sandman.

(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)

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