In what is regarded as its most important international territory, Spider-Man smashed yet another opening record at the weekend when it was released in Japan on Saturday (May 11).

With a massive estimated weekend gross of $9.6m (¥1.23bn) and 820,000 admissions from 412 screens, the blockbuster recorded the best figures ever for a non-holiday release in Japan.

With a screen average of over $23,000 the film benefited from a saturation ad campaign that boosted recognition of the Spiderman character to 96%, according to Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"We're getting a wide demographic, everyone from kids to adults," said Sony publicist Shunji Tanaka. "The response to this film has far exceeded our expectations."

Prospects were already high for Spider-Man after it grossed $3.3m from paid previews in Japan last weekend.