Asian moviegoers are particularly enamored of Spider-Man, and they’re showing their Spidey sense at multiplexes across the continent this week -- turning out in droves in markets where the tepidly received franchise flick “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opened.
In Hong Kong, Hollywood’s second major superhero release of the summer blockbuster season -- behind last month’s “Captain American: The Winter Soldier” -- broke the opening-day box-office record, taking in HK$9.56 million ($1.23 million) for 720 Thursday screenings ahead of its weekend bow. The total is significantly higher than the previous record set by “Spider-Man 3,” which took in HK$7.56 million ($975,000) in 2007, according to figures from Hong Kong’s Motion Picture Industry Association.
The movie opened in several Asian markets this week, including Thailand, Vietnam and India. In Indonesia, a 5-year-old boy reportedly jumped to his death from his 19th-floor apartment after his mother refused to take him to see the film. Local police are treating the incident as a suicide, according to the English-language Philippine news website Inquirer.net.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” opens in wide release on Friday in the U.S. after a Thursday evening preview opening that, according to Forbes, earned $8.7 million at the box office. The sequel to the 2012 reboot “The Amazing Spider-Man,” starring Andrew Garfield as the globally recognizable web-slinging hero, was itself released only five years after the final film in the original franchise. While it’s easy for the uninitiated to lose count of all the Spider-Man movies, international audiences in particular have been eager to come back for more. The last Spider-Man film grossed $262 million domestically and $752 million internationally and it was the seventh highest-grossing movie of 2012, according to Box Office Mojo.
American critics are lukewarm on “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but that, too, is likely to be of little consequence. If history is any guide, the film’s 56 percent rating on the critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes will put only a marginal dent in the film’s traction in the United States while having virtually no effect in Asian markets, and by extension the worldwide box office -- the one that really counts. “Spider-Man 3” also opened to mixed reviews but still managed to rake in $554 million internationally. All told, only 37 percent of that film’s theatrical gross came from U.S. ticket sales. In contrast, “The Hunger Games,” a blockbuster released the same year, generated 59 percent of its total gross from the American box office.
The numbers underscore Hollywood’s increasing reliance on (some would say addiction to) pre-packaged summer tent poles that are light on exposition, heavy on CGI effects and generous with lengthy action sequences that translate seamlessly for international audiences. As is the case with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the most successful efforts revolve around built-in franchises familiar to cross-generational audiences. In addition to “Spider-Man,” Hollywood has no shortage of six comic book-based movies opening this summer.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was released by Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE). It opens in wide release on Friday in the U.S. after a Thursday evening preview opening.
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