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Spider-Man 3 Sets All-Time Record..Kind Of

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Spider-Man 3 opened in 4,252 theaters yesterday (that's 10,000+ screens according to Box Office Mojo) raking in an estimated $59 million for the all-time one day record, but it's not all roses if you look at the numbers a little closer.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest opened with $55.8 million on 2500 fewer screens, meaning it made more money per screen than did Spider-Man 3. In fact, had Pirates 2 had the same number of theaters and screens, it would have probably pulled in somewhere around $65 million its first day, obliterating Spider-Man 3 by a fair margin.

So this is obviously one of the largest openings ever, but had Pirates 2 been given the same wide release, it would be the record holder today, not Spider-Man 3.

Something to consider, also, is Spider-Man 3's ridiculous production budget of $260 million. This film will have to take in a stunning $520 million in box office proceeds before it will even break even for Columbia. There is little doubt in my mind that they'll make back their coin, I'm simply noting that even if they make somewhere around Pirate 2's roughly $1 billion in worldwide gross, only slightly less than half of that will be actual profit.

This debut is impressive, but don't let media grandstanding take you down the path too far. This opening is about on par with modern era blockbusters. What'll be more interesting is whether or not it'll set the all-time record for worldwide gross, which is currently held by James Cameron's ($1.845 billion)

Distributor Sony is projecting between $135-145 million total for the domestic three-day weekend, leaving the film approximately $187.5 million in debt heading into next week.

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May 5, 2007, 10:13:00 PM
Spider-man 3 theaters = 4,252
Pirates 2 theaters = 4,133
Spider-man 3 AVERAGE PER THEATER = $13,876
Pirates 2 AVERAGE PER THEATER = $13,508

Spider-man wins.

May 6, 2007, 12:29:00 AM
Thanks for commenting. Averages are based on screens, not theaters. According to trade data, Pirates 2 debuted on about 8,500 screens, while Spider-Man 3 debuted on over 10,000, and with nothing more precise than that we can estimate that:

59000000/10000 = $5900 per screen (SM3)
55000000/8500 = $6470 per screen (P2)

Had Pirates 2 debuted on 10,000 screens (10000*6470), it would have made $64.7 million, out-pacing Spider-Man 3's $59 million.

An impressive showing by both films, but I'm afraid when you adjust for the wider release, Pirates 2 holds the real crown.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.