Moviegoers in Asia smitten with 'Spidey'

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Moviegoers across Asia turned out in record numbers for Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3" as the superhero franchise began its international rollout Tuesday.

"In the eight Asian markets where we opened May 1, in every single one of them we beat 'Spider-Man' and 'Spider-Man 2,' " Sony Pictures Entertainment vice chairman Jeff Blake said. "And we set records in almost all of them."

In Japan, the film, directed by Sam Raimi, pulled in ¥443.7 million ($3.7 million), outdistancing the opening of "Spider-Man 2" (¥410 million) and that of the original "Spider-Man" (¥347 million). The new film's debut also represented the biggest Tuesday gross of any kind, including Tuesday opening days, displacing "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which stood at ¥408 million. (It didn't claim the biggest opening-day record because Japanese films normally open on Saturday, a bigger moviegoing day.)

In Korea, "Spider-Man 3" attracted 3.2 billion won ($3.46 million) to set that country's opening-day record. The movie scored another opening-day record in Hong Kong, where it snapped up HK$7.5 million ($960,000), beating "Kung Fu Hustle."

In Taiwan, the film posted the biggest opening weekday ever as well as the biggest weekday ever.

In Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, the film's daily gross was the biggest single day ever recorded.

In such territories as the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand, the film even managed to outgross the combined opening-day grosses of the two previous "Spider-Man" movies.

As the movie crossed into time zones in Europe and Africa, it went on to play opening days in Egypt, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and France. Sony said it would make those numbers available by this morning in Los Angeles as well as an estimated first-day international gross.

All in all, it launched in 16 markets around the world in its first day. The film hits U.S. shores Friday, with a number of theaters getting ready to unspool it at midnight screenings early Friday morning.
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