Weekend Box Office (May 10 - 12, 2002)

*** Read the NEW Summer Box Office Preview ***

THIS WEEKEND The amazing Spider-Man remained the mother of all megablockbusters in its second weekend as it continued to shatter records left and right. New releases Unfaithful and The New Guy enjoyed good openings in second and third place, however, the webslinger remained the dominant force in the marketplace.

Sliding only 38% in its sophomore frame, Spider-Man grossed a colossal $71.4M, according to final studio figures, giving the Sony smash the largest second-weekend gross ever and the fourth biggest weekend take in box office history. The previous high for a movie in its second Friday-to-Sunday session was $57.5M for last November's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. After a mere ten days, Spider-Man has captured a staggering $223M and averaged a scorching $19,756 per theater this weekend.

Among overall weekend grosses, the Sam Raimi-directed film's second weekend trails only its own debut frame ($114.8M), Harry Potter's opening ($90.3M), and The Lost World's bow ($72.1M). Spider-Man also set a new speed record by vaulting over the $200M hurdle on Saturday after only nine days beating the previous record of 13 days set by Star Wars Episode I in 1999. On the strength of Spider-Man, already the year's top-grossing picture, Sony has raced past its competitors to secure the year-to-date market share crown with $562M in ticket sales so far this year.

"We attribute this fantastic hold to repeat business, universal appeal, and electric word-of-mouth," explained Jeff Blake, worldwide head of marketing and distribution for the studio. Spider-Man spun a muscular $20M gross on Friday, surged a healthy 53% to $30.5M on Saturday, and dropped 31% to $20.9M on Sunday.

Spider-Man has scaled box office heights that just two weeks ago were thought to be unimaginable. At its current pace, the webslinger should bank roughly $240M before Thursday's much-anticipated launch of Star Wars Episode II - the month's other event picture. Spider-Man should swing past the $300M mark by Memorial Day weekend and will fly higher as long as fans return for more.

Last year's early May blockbuster The Mummy Returns had weaker legs than Spider-Man and fell a sharp 51% in its second weekend grossing $118M in ten days. That represented 58% of its eventual $202M domestic total. Even if Spider-Man were to follow that less stable path, it would find its way to at least $385M by the end of its run. But with its impressive staying power, reaching the rare $400M hurdle is certainly possible.

Next weekend, the comic book hero will have his hands full as Fox invades theaters across North America with Episode II. According to the studio's latest estimates, the George Lucas epic will attack approximately 3,100 theaters with roughly 6,000 prints giving the much-hyped film 500 fewer theaters and 1,500 less prints than Spider-Man in its opening weekend. Also premiering next weekend is the Hugh Grant comedy About A Boy which Universal will be releasing in about 1,100 locations ahead of a Memorial Day weekend expansion. Both Episode II and About A Boy were unveiled to audiences with exclusive screenings at the first annual Tribeca Film Festival in downtown Manhattan.

Richard Gere enjoyed the third best opening of his career with the steamy thriller Unfaithful which debuted with $14.1M this weekend. Playing in 2,613 theaters, Fox's R-rated drama averaged a solid $5,383 per location. The Adrian Lyne-directed film stars Gere as a man investigating the adulterous affair of his wife played by Diane Lane. Unfaithful performed best with adult women but audiences were not impressed overall as those polled by CinemaScore.com gave the film a disappointing C+ grade. Fox, which is handling worldwide distribution, estimated that the budget on the film was in the low $60M range. Only twice has Gere delivered a better opening - 1999's Runaway Bride ($35.1M) and 1997's The Jackal ($15.2M).

Debuting in third place was Sony's teen comedy The New Guy with $9M from 2,687 theaters. Averaging a moderate $3,352 per site, the PG-13 film stars DJ Qualls as a teenage loser who transforms himself in a popular lad at a new high school. Budgeted at $13M, The New Guy looks to eventually bring in a modest profit.

In its fourth weekend, Universal's action pic The Scorpion King grossed $4.9M, off 46%, pushing its cume to $80.9M. Paramount's Changing Lanes slipped 29% to $3.8M for a $57.3M total. Collecting $2.6M in its seventh inning, Disney's The Rookie slipped 16% and raised its cume to $68.2M.

The Sandra Bullock crime film Murder by Numbers declined 33% to $2.4M giving the Warner Bros. release $27.5M to date. Panic Room enjoyed a good hold easing just 28% to $1.5M weekend and a $93.1M overall gross.

Fox rounded out the top ten with Ice Age and Life or Something Like It which took in grosses of $1.6M and $1.4M, respectively. Totals stand at $171M and $13.2M.

Sony offered sneak previews of the Jennifer Lopez thriller Enough on Saturday evening and reported that screenings were at 60% capacity on average. Females made up 55% of the crowd for the PG-13 film with those over age 25 also accounting for 55%. Enough opens nationwide on May 24 over the Memorial Day holiday weekend opposite the Al Pacino-Robin Williams murder thriller Insomnia and the animated family film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Two films dropped out of the top ten. MGM's gang picture Deuce's Wild fell 54% in its second weekend to $1.2M. After ten days, the Matt Dillon film has grossed just $4.8M and should end with a wimpy $5-7M. New Line's Jason X has been disappearing quickly grossing just $11.7M to date and not likely to collect much more.

IFC Films expanded its hit indie comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding from 147 to 247 theaters and watched sales climb 90% to $1.3M putting it in the Top12 for the first time. Its per-theater average of $5,112 was third-best in the top dozen after Spider-Man and Unfaithful. Wedding's limited-release cume after four weekends is a solid $4.1M.

Sony Pictures Classics opened two foreign films in arthouses over the weekend. The Hindi-language epic Lagaan, an Oscar nominee this year for best foreign-language film, grossed $10,736 from two theaters for a $5,368 average per site. Since its Wednesday bow in New York, the nearly four-hour historical drama has taken in $11,719. The distributor's French period piece The Lady and the Duke collected $25,804 from five venues for a $5,161 average.

Ismail Merchant's latest directorial effort The Mystic Masseur delivered a solid second weekend of exclusive engagements grossing $17,954 from just two theaters. The ThinkFilm release upped its total to $43,492 while averaging an impressive $8,977 during the current frame. Masseur expands into the top dozen markets on Friday.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $112.8M which was up 62% from last year when The Mummy Returns remained at number one with $33.7M; and up 68% from 2000 when Gladiator stayed in the top spot with $24.6M.

Compared to projections, Spider-Man came in a few notches above my $66M forecast. Unfaithful and The New Guy both debuted stronger than my predictions of $10M and $7M, respectively.

Be sure to read the annual Summer Box Office Preview.

Take this week's NEW Reader Survey and guess the opening weekend gross for Star Wars Episode II. In last week's survey, readers were asked whether they liked the Batman or Superman films more. Of 3,821 responses, the voting was almost a dead heat with Batman commanding a slight edge with 50.3% of the vote.

For a review of Spider-Man visit The Chief Report.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Attack of the Clones and About A Boy both debut.

Marketplace: Shop for videos, DVDs, music, books, and posters at discounted prices using search engines

# Title May 10 - 12 May 3 - 5 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Spider-Man $ 71,417,527 $ 114,844,116 -37.8 3,615 2 $ 19,756 $ 223,040,031 Sony
2 Unfaithful 14,065,277 2,613 1 5,383 14,118,338 Fox
3 The New Guy 9,007,833 2,687 1 3,352 9,007,833 Sony
4 The Scorpion King 4,925,070 9,046,660 -45.6 3,219 4 1,530 80,934,290 Universal
5 Changing Lanes 3,815,035 5,338,222 -28.5 2,510 5 1,520 57,308,319 Paramount
6 The Rookie 2,626,800 3,120,594 -15.8 2,117 7 1,241 68,233,433 Buena Vista
7 Murder By Numbers 2,427,318 3,624,487 -33.0 2,116 4 1,147 27,462,731 Warner Bros.
8 Ice Age 1,576,006 2,369,504 -33.5 1,724 9 914 171,020,941 Fox
9 Panic Room 1,505,704 2,088,101 -27.9 1,350 7 1,115 93,091,300 Sony
10 Life or Something Like It 1,410,110 3,182,255 -55.7 1,866 3 756 13,202,385 Fox
11 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1,262,562 666,304 89.5 247 4 5,112 4,112,413 IFC Films
12 Deuce's Wild 1,244,007 2,704,682 -54.0 1,480 2 841 4,847,271 MGM
13 Hollywood Ending 1,096,353 2,017,981 -45.7 772 2 1,420 3,645,452 DreamWorks
14 High Crimes 1,077,459 1,713,011 -37.1 1,034 6 1,042 39,252,062 Fox
15 Jason X 932,682 2,303,345 -59.5 1,401 3 666 11,724,570 New Line
16 Y Tu Mama Tambien 615,059 759,613 -19.0 286 9 2,151 9,328,400 IFC Films
17 ESPN's Ultimate X 613,670 47 1 13,057 613,670 Buena Vista
18 Monsoon Wedding 543,361 593,527 -8.5 253 12 2,148 9,773,820 USA Films
19 The Lord of the Rings 502,487 452,061 11.2 440 21 1,142 309,471,992 New Line
20 Space Station 481,771 486,944 -1.1 33 4 14,599 3,092,055 Imax
Top 5 $ 103,230,742 $ 136,035,740 -24.1
Top 10 112,776,680 148,621,966 -24.1
Top 20 121,146,091 157,767,180 -23.2
Top 20 vs. 2001 121,146,091 75,188,542 61.1

Last Updated : May 13, 2002 at 11:00PM EDT