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Spider-Man 2 smashes US Box Office records

Compiled by: Jack Foley

SPIDER-MAN 2 looks to have broken the six-day North American box office record - as predicted by many pundits.

The sequel, which was released in America last Wednesday (June 30, 2004), nabbed an estimated $180.1 million (£98.5 million) in its first six days of release, thereby setting a new level for the time frame, and surpassing the $146.9 million bow of The Matrix Reloaded last year.

The grand total looks to have beaten Shrek 2's record five-day haul, of $129m (£71.6m), which was achieved earlier this year, not to mention lining up the all-time record, set by Spider-Man, in 2002.

However, there was some scepticism among industry experts, given that the Friday-Sunday total of $90m was below the three-day total of $114.8m ($63.4m) that the first Spider-Man film took on release two years ago.

The sequel's three-day, Friday to Sunday total is reported to have been $88.3 million - but this has been attributed to the fact that it had already been out for two days, having opened on the Wednesday.

In what is looking like another healthy period for the US Box Office, Michael Moore’s controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, slipped to second place, taking an estimated $17m (£9.39m) over the three-day weekend.

It has now taken more than $55m (£30.5m) in the US, since its release, making it the most successful documentary of all time, and is being shown on 1,725 theatres.

Distributor, Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films, said the movie was on track to become the first theatrically-released documentary to make more than $100m (£55.5m).

First day round-up

Spider-Man 2 has netted an early cinema record, by making $40.5 million (£22.2m) on its first day of release in America.

The sequel broke the record set by its money-spinning predecessor and looks well placed to break even more over the Independence Day weekend in the States.

Delighted Sony execs enthused that ‘we are off to a phenomenal start’, after the figures were revealed, with the $114.8m (£63.4m) the original took, in 2000, the next target for the number-crunchers.

Of course, the sequel, which reunites Tobey Maguire and Kisten Dunst with director, Sam Raimi, was buoyed by positive reviews, many of which declared it to be a better film than the original.

The record-busting first day figure was all the more exceptional, because the film opened on a Wednesday, instead of the normal Friday, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of film box-office analysts Exhibitor Relations, who added:

"We're in uncharted territory looking at midweek numbers this big. I remember when $40 million was a big opening weekend for a movie not that long ago, and now that's a single day in the middle of the week."

The previous best debut for a Wednesday opening was set by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King last December, which made $34.5m (£18.9m) - and it could even break the single day box office record set by Shrek 2, on the Saturday of the film’s opening weekend ($44.8m).

The film is due to open in the UK on July 15, and work on a third film on the series has already begun.

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