Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Midnight box office: The Amazing Spider-Man earns $7.5m at 12:01am. Will it fall closer to $112m or $155m by Sunday?

The official numbers are in, and The Amazing Spider-Man is off to a decent if-not amazing start.  The reboot earned $7.5 million in midnight screenings.  $1.2 million of that came from IMAX alone, giving each IMAX theater a $4,000 per-screen average.  For comparison sake, Spider-Man 3 debuted with $10 million worth* of midnight showings five summers ago.  While said threequel debuted on a Friday as opposed to Tuesday, it also was in the middle of the school year and didn't have the benefit of 3D ticket prices and expanded IMAX opportunities.  To be fair, there wasn't nearly as much 'rush out and see it' factor this time around, as it wasn't a sequel to a popular series and didn't have the debut of a fan-favorite villain (Venom, natch).  As it is, $7.5 million is the same midnight number that Iron Man 2 pulled in two years ago on its way to a $128 million Fri-Sun total.  But it's difficult/unfair to compare Fri-Sun openings with extended week openings, so let's look at more relevant stats.

Since Tuesday debuts are somewhat rare, the only real comparison we have is a handful of relevant Wednesday openings and the 2007 July 4th debut of Transformers, which also opened on a Tuesday.  However, said Michael Bay actioner had 8pm Monday screenings, as did Transformers: Dark of the Moon last July 4th weekend prior to its Wednesday debut.  The first Transformers opened with  $8.8 million worth of early and midnight sneaks, while Transformers 3 earned $13.5 million worth of combined sneak peaks, with $8 million of that coming from midnight screenings alone.  The last Transformers film is the preferred frame of reference, as it has approximately the same number of IMAX and 3D screens, plus relatively similar ticket prices.  So despite having no early sneak previews prior to midnight, The Amazing Spider-Man earned $500,000 less at midnight that Transformers 3.  So the $180 million six-day totals of Spider-Man 2 (which opened over July 4th 2004) and Transformers 3 are out of the question, as is matching the $176 million six-day numbers for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (July 4th 2010).  The best-case scenario would be the $155 million six-day Tuesday-to-Sunday total earned by Transformers on this same extended weekend back in 2007 (if you want to play the inflation game, said opening would be about $180 million today, natch).

After those high-water marks, you're looking at figures along the lines of War of the Worlds and Hancock ($112 million over their first respective six days over July 4th 2005 and then 2008).  Heck add those numbers up and divide accordingly and you get around $145 million for the first six days, which is frankly a realistic sum at this point.  Obviously we'll see if opening day is closer to $22 million (War of the Worlds, Superman Returns) or $40 million (Spider-Man 2, Transformers 3), at which point we'll have a pretty good idea of where The Amazing Spider-Man will end up on its sixth day. Until then, this is all just fun with math.  Here is my review and the spoiler thread.  Don't be afraid to share... 

Scott Mendelson

* Note - Sony is reporting that Spider-Man 3 earned $7.5 million in its midnight debut five years ago, while every source I've ever found regarding this says it was $10 million.

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