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Superhero tentpole The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is looking to cast a strong web as it swings into North American theaters this weekend, officially kicking off the all-important summer box-office season, when Hollywood studios flood the market with big-budget spectacles.
Prerelease tracking suggests the Sony movie will surpass the recent $95 million opening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to score the top domestic opening of 2014. Studio insiders believe the film could be a big draw among families, boosting the bottom line.
Comparisons to The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) are complicated since that film opened Tuesday of Fourth of July week, taking in $137 million in its first six days, including $62 million for the weekend. Amazing Spider-Man topped out at $752.2 million globally, successfully relaunching the marque franchise post Tobey Maguire.
Director Marc Webb reteamed with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to make the $200 million-plus sequel, which features an array of new castmembers, including Jamie Foxx as the villain Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, Spider-Man’s friend-turned-nemesis. Paul Giamatti plays Rhino, a third bad guy.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 has already earned nearly $150 million overseas, where it began rolling out two weeks ago. It opens in another raft of markets this weekend, including in China on Sunday.
Summer almost always begins with a Marvel Comics superhero tentpole. In 2012, Marvel’s and Disney’s The Avengers debuted to an astounding $207.4 million on the first weekend in May, the highest opening of all time for any time of the year. Last year, Iron Man 3 took in $174.1 million; Thor grossed $65.7 million in 2011; and X Men Origins: Wolverine made $85.1 million in 2009.
Spider-Man 3, debuting to $151.1 million in 2007, is the No. 3 May opener of all time after Avengers and Iron Man 3.
No other movie dared premiere nationwide opposite Amazing-Spider Man 2, but launching at the specialty box office is Fox Searchlight’s British period drama Belle, directed by Amma Asante and starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode and Emily Watson.
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