The all-time box office opening record was obliterated over the weekend as Spider-Man from Columbia Pictures took an estimated $114m, becoming the first movie to pass the magical $100m mark in its opening weekend. It beat the previous record-holder Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone by an astonishing $24m.
Naturally it is also the fastest film in history to cross the $100m mark, beating both Harry Potter and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace which took five days each. Final figures will be released today.
In another benchmark, Spider-Man bagged $43.7m on Saturday, beating the $33.5m for a single day gross set by Harry Potter. The arachnid took an impressive $39.3m on Friday and accounted for three-quarters of the total weekend gross for the top 12 movies - a record of $153.3m up 54 percent from the same weekend last year and the twelfth consecutive week that has seen a rise in the overall total.
The eagerly awaited adaptation directed by Sam Raimi stars Tobey Maguire as the misfit science nerd who becomes a web-slinging superhero. Kirsten Dunst and Willem Dafoe co-star as Spidey's love interest and supervillain The Green Goblin respectively.
The movie averaged $31,535 from 3,615 venues, beating by around $7,000 the existing record for films opening in more than 3,000 theatres previously held by Harry Potter. Exit polls of audiences revealed the picture's wide appeal, with roughly equal attendances by males and females and the under and over-25 age groups. With no prospective threat until the release of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones on May 16, Spider-Man has ample time to snare a few more records in his web. "We could safely say it should take in excess of $200m prior to May 16," said Mark Zucker, senior executive vice president of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International.
Universal's The Scorpion King slipped to second place with a weekend gross of $9.6m, bringing its cumulative total to a healthy $74.8m. Down one place to third was the Paramount drama Changing Lanes starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson, which took $5.6m and has a $52.3m running total. Meanwhile Panic Room, Spidey's stablemate at Columbia, slipped to joint tenth place but continued to march towards the $100m mark with $2.2m and a cumulative total to $91.9m.
Predictably the weekend's two other new releases - both of which received poor reviews - were eclipsed. Deuces Wild, a gang drama starring Stephen Dorff, Brad Renfro, Fairuza Balk, Norman Reedus and Matt Dillon and set in Brooklyn in the late 1950s, opened in seventh place on $2.7m, averaging a poor $1,824 from 1,480 theatres. The Woody Allen comedy Hollywood Ending, which will open the Cannes Film Festival next week, tied at tenth on $2.2m. The film played at 765 sites and averaged an okay $2,876.
Next week's releases include the return of Richard Gere in Fox's romantic
thriller Unfaithful and Columbia's The New Guy, a comedy vehicle for DJ Qualls.
ESTIMATED TOP TEN US MAY 3-5
Film (Distributor)/International distribution/Estimated weekend gross/Estimated total to date
1 (-) Spider-Man (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $114m --
2 (1) The Scorpion King (Universal) UIP $9.6m $74.8m
3 (2) Changing Lanes (Paramount) UIP/Mutual $5.6m $52.3m
4 (5) Murder by Numbers (Warner Brothers) Warner Bros $3.8m $24.1m
5 (6) The Rookie (Buena Vista) BVI $3.3m $65.1m
6 (3) Life Or Something Like It (20th Century Fox) Fox International/Regency $3.28m $11m
7 (-) Deuces Wild (United Artists) Capitol Films $2.7m --
8 (7) Ice Age (20th Century Fox) Fox International $2.5m $169.2m
9 (4) Jason X (New Line) New Line International $2.4m $10.3m
10 tied (-) Hollywood Ending (DreamWorks) Capitol Films $2.2m --
10 tied (8) Panic Room (Columbia) Columbia TriStar $2.2m $91.9m