Studios plan opening weekends very carefully. These days it is not unusual for movies to be scheduled 3 years in advance (like the upcoming Justice League flick). These decisions are made to maximize the possibility of a film’s success. The first weekend of May has been the kick off of the summer movie season, and studios have used big budget super-hero and science fiction films to serve as “tentpoles” to their whole summer movie schedule.
This year Sony/Columbia has claimed the date with the Amazing Spider-man sequel. No other studio even bothered to counter-schedule any major release. So of course the Wall-crawler easily bested the competition, bringing in $91,608,337 on 4,324 screens. That averages out to just a little of $21,000 per screen. That doesn’t even include the overseas ticket sales, which adds an whopping additional $277 million, over 3 times what it did in North America alone.
Now to you and me, that probably sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But is it really a success? Well when compared some other recent Summer kick off films, ASM2 severely underperformed. Last year’s Iron Man 3 nearly doubled Spidey’s performance with $174 million, on a comparable number of screens. Now Shell-head’s latest outing was certainly helped out by 2012’s Avengers which particularly made back its $220 million dollar budget in it’s opening weekend. Avengers opened to a record setting $207,438,708 in 2012.
So, in comparison, how much did Spidey fall short to expectations? Well, compared to other recent super-hero films, ASM2 is right on pace. April’s Captain America: The Winter Solider‘s $95 million dollar opening weekend, and ahead of Thor: The Dark World‘s $85.7 million. But neither of those films opened in May, and both of those sequels improved on their first installments’ openings. It’s hard to judge ASM2 to the original Amazing Spider-man’s opening, since it opened on the Tuesday before the Fourth of July. The 6 day opening grossed over $137 million. When compared with the two previous Spider-man films that opened the first weekend in May (The original Spider-man, and 2007’s Spider-man 3) ASM2 failed to outgross it’s predecessors. Both Sam Raimi directed films easily cleared 100 million, both with lower ticket prices, and no IMAX/3D premium ticket prices.
So what does this mean for the future of Sony’s Spiderverse? Sony has two more Amazing Spider-Man movies already on the their schedule for 2016 and 2018, respect. And while we know Amazing Spider-Man 3 will be in theatres in 2 years on June 10, we can’t be sure what the studio has in mind for 2018. In a press release from Sony, it’s been announced that film featuring popular anti-hero Venom is in the works, as well as team up of some of Spidey’s worst villains, the Sinister Six. From the press release,
In addition, the team will build on the cinematic foundation laid by Webb, Arad, and Tolmach in the first two movies. They will expand the franchise as Kurtzman & Orci & Solomon will write the screenplay for Venom, which Kurtzman will direct; also, Goddard will write, with an eye to direct, The Sinister Six, focusing on the villains in the franchise. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the development and production of these films for the studio.
This announcement, paired with Warner Brothers recent news of the Justice League film, plus 8 more DC Comics related properties in development, shows just how envious the rest of Hollywood now is of Marvel Films, and their shared universe concept. There is also talk of some some connections between the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, both of which are licensed by Fox. But if ASM2 continues to underperform, or if this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy fails to deliver, will the air go out of Hollywood’s superhero balloon? Why I don’t think we are looking at anything like a Batman & Robin implosion. The studios could decide to pull back on their commitment to comic-book movies. To be honest with you, I don’t think that would be the worst thing for the genre. I know I would much rather have 2 really well made comic book movies a year, than 5 mediocre ones.
What do you think?