Spider-Man's latest film netted a massive number at the box office this weekend -- but in the end, the superhero couldn't stick it to Captain America.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which hit theaters Thursday evening, debuted with $92 million, per an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures. Heading into the weekend, pre-release audience surveys indicated the 3-D sequel starring Andrew Garfield would launch with around $95 million -- putting it in a tight race for the top opening of 2014. By weekend's end, however, that title still went to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," a sequel featuring another Marvel Comics favorite that launched with $95 million last month.
Still, Spidey is off to a pretty great start -- though predicting just how big the film will ultimately get is complicated. The first entry in filmmaker Marc Webb's reboot of the Spider-Man franchise opened during the busy Fourth of July holiday in 2012, collecting $137 million during its first six days -- $62 million of which was made over the three-day weekend. The picture went on to gross $262 million domestically -- about 34% of its $752-million global haul.
"It certainly has the potential to exceed the first film's gross domestically," said Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution president. "We're heading into another weekend which is wide open, so we have incredible play time. There's something very sticky about this movie, but we'll need another weekend to see how it shakes out."
Indeed, "Spider-Man 2" won't face any competition in the fanboy quadrant until May 16, when a new version of "Godzilla" is slated for release. One week later, however, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" will enter the marketplace and is expected to do huge business, launching with around $100 million.
Meanwhile, given the state of the ever-expanding international marketplace, the Spider-Man sequel will almost certainly gross more abroad than its predecessor. Over the past month, Sony has sent the movie's stars crisscrossing the globe to promote the movie in Tokyo, Beijing and Sydney, Australia. The studio also threw red carpet premieres for the picture in New York, Berlin, Rome, Paris and London.
"Spider-Man 2" has been open in a handful of foreign markets for the last few weeks, and has now amassed $277 million from 90 countries overseas. This weekend, the film opened in India, where with $6.5 million it had the biggest launch ever for a Hollywood movie. In China, where the last Spider-Man grossed most of its money internationally two years ago, the sequel made $10.4 million on its first day alone. The film is playing on 11,002 screens in China, marking the biggest release ever for a film in the country.
Back in the States, meanwhile, critics and moviegoers seem to be a tad less enamored with the second Spider-Man film than the first. The 2012 flick garnered relatively strong notices, notching a 73% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the second entry is at 54% on the review aggregation site. Audiences who saw "Spider-Man 2" this weekend assigned the film an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore -- a healthy grade, though the original received an A-.
This weekend, the sequel attracted more men than women, as 61% of the crowd was male. The movie played well with a young audience, too: Roughly 51% of those who saw the movie were under the age of 25.
Financed by Sony for around $250 million, "Spider-Man 2" follows the superhero as he strives to protect New York City from a slew of villains -- the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Without his suit on, as Peter Parker, the web-slinger is also trying to figure out his romantic life with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).