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Spiderman Box-office Sales Soar
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Hollywood's superhero blockbuster Spider-Man 3 smashed the box-office records everywhere, including China, sources from Sony Pictures Entertainment in China told China.org.cn. Spider-Man 3 landed on the Chinese mainland at midnight on May 1 just in time to cash in on China's 7-day Labor Day holiday season with no heavyweight competitors.



Sources at Sony Pictures in China estimate that the webslinger has already netted at least 70 million yuan (US$9.08 million) in just 6 days. The film also broke the all-time US opening week box office records with over US$151 million.


Sony Pictures' China branch now is expecting the film could continue to sweep the box offices and eventually earn over 100 million yuan (US$12.99 million) on the mainland.


Its two predecessors, Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004), only raked in 43 million (US$5.58 million) and 55 million yuan (US$7.14 million) in total respectively during their entire runs in China. Spider-Man 3 has produced a record over 520 copies, including the IMAX version, for Chinese cinemas, which helped guarantee the success.


Previous record holders are The Da Vinci Code, which earned 12 million yuan (US$1.55 million) on opening day and 007's latest Casino Royale, which set a new record early this year with 45 million yuan (US$5.84 million) in the opening week.


Spider-Man 3 also broke box office records across eight Asian markets on last Tuesday. In South Korea and China's Hong Kong, the picture set new marks for the biggest opening day, taking in 3.2 billion won (US$3.4 million) and HK$7.5 million (US$960,000), respectively. Sales in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand were the highest for any single day, opening or otherwise. Leading the way was Japan, where its opening-day sales of 415 million yen (US$3.5 million) ranked as the biggest for a Tuesday opening.


With US$59.3 million on opening day Friday, Spider-Man 3 broke the single-day box-office record in the United States, previously held by last summer's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with US$55.8 million in its first day.


Spider-Man 3 reunites director Sam Raimi, who also made the previous two installments, and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.


"Sam Raimi is a genius," Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures co-chairman said to Reuters. "I could have never envisioned this. What I was hoping was we would just break the Spider-Man 1 record. This is beyond my wildest dream."


Also among the records smashed by Spider-Man 3 was a US$4.8 million domestic gross at huge-screen IMAX theaters, topping the previous best of US$3.6 million set by 300 in March.


Playing at a record 4,252 locations domestically, Spider-Man 3 averaged a whopping US$34,807 a theater.


Domestically, Spider-Man 3 could enter its second weekend Friday with US$200 million already in the bank in the US. The film has the market largely to itself for the next week and a half, with no major competition arriving until DreamWorks Animation's Shrek the Third arrives May 18.


With Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and an onslaught of other potential blockbusters following, studio executives predict this could be a record summer for modern Hollywood.


The weekend's only other new wide release, the romantic drama Lucky You from Warner Bros., bombed with US$2.5 million to come in at No. 6.


Directed by Curtis Hanson, Lucky You stars Drew Barrymore as a budding Las Vegas singer, Eric Bana as skilled gambler, and Robert Duvall as his estranged father in a tale set against the World Series of Poker.




(Agencies via China Daily, China.org.cn by Zhang Rui May 8, 2007)

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