Women help Spider-Man net Sony $341 million and counting

Spider-Man took in $140 million at the US box office in the first six days. Female viewers made up 42 percent of the Spider-Man movie audience

(AP Photo/Columbia - Sony Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood)
Andrew Garfield portrays Peter Parker in a scene from "The Amazing Spider-Man which opened strongly in the US and worldwide.

The new "Spider-Man" climbed to the top of movie box office charts with weekend sales of $65 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, a smashing debut for the reinvented franchise about a web-slinging superhero.

"The Amazing Spider-Man," starring Andrew Garfield in the role played by Tobey Maguire in three earlier installments, started strong with $7.5 million in midnight sales on Tuesday and remained so through the U.S. Independence Day holiday and the weekend. The 3D film has so far snared $140 million during its domestic run, distributor Sony Pictures said.

The film has generated $341.2 million overall, including $201.6 million in the 70 foreign markets in which it has opened.

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Of its worldwide total, more than $24 million has come from showings in IMAX wide-screen theaters, according to Imax .

Earlier in the week, Sony had forecast domestic ticket sales of $130 million for the first six days.

The movie reboots the modern film series that began with 2002's "Spider-Man" and whose three movies netted around $2.5 billion at global box offices for its makers, Marvel Studios and distributor Sony Pictures.

After those earlier films, Sony cut the budget for its fourth installment and replaced Maguire with Garfield, who played a supporting role in Facebook movie "The Social Network,"

The film follows Spider-Man alter-ego Peter Parker in high school as he turns into a crime-fighting superhero. Garfield's real life girlfriend, Emma Stone, plays Parker's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy.

The story of young love helped lure female viewers, who made up 42 percent of the audience, according to Sony. Seventy-three percent of reviews compiled on website Rotten Tomatoes recommended the movie.

"This is a film that had something for women," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment. "Gwen Stacy is a pretty strong woman in her own right, and the two of them had great chemistry on screen."

The new "Spider-Man" cost about $215 million to produce, plus tens of millions more for marketing. The film is Sony's second big-budget hit this summer, following the success of alien comedy "Men in Black 3" in May.

The studio's next major release, sci-fi remake "Total Recall," reaches theaters in August.

Last week's winner, comedy "Ted" about a man and his foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear, slipped to second place with domestic sales of $32.6 million from Friday through Sunday. Directed by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, "Ted" has earned $120.2 million domestically since its debut a week ago.

"Ted" had an unusually low 40 percent drop in weekend ticket sales from the week earlier, which executives at distributor Universal Pictures attributed in part to attracting an audience that was 44 percent women after its opening.

"I know its about a drug using, foul-mouthed bear, but when all is said and done it's a romance with a lot of heart," said Nikki Rocco, UniversalPictures' president of domestic distribution. "I don't know too many women who didn't feel something when that bear was lying dead on that coffee table with the stuffing pulled out of it."

The No. 3 slot went to "Brave," an animated fairy tale from Walt Disney Co's Pixar studio. The movie about a rebellious, red-haired Scottish princess grabbed $20.1 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters. That brings its domestic ticket sales to $174.5 million.

Oliver Stone's new movie, "Savages," rung up $16.2 million in its opening weekend, finishing in fourth place.

Based on a novel by Don Winslow, the blood-splattered R-rated film tells the story of two pot-growing friends who face off with members of a Mexican drug cartel who kidnapped their shared girlfriend.

The "Savages" cast includes Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta and Taylor Kitsch, the star of this year's two big box-office flops - "John Carter" and "Battleship."

In fifth place, male striptease movie "Magic Mike" racked up $15.6 million. The movie starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey has brought in $72.8 million domestically since last week's debut.

Universal and privately-held Relativity Media produced "Savages" for about $45 million. Universal had predicted weekend sales of about $10 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, documentary "Katy Perry: Part of Me," finished in the No. 8 spot with $7.1 million at domestic theaters.

After opening on Thursday in the United States, it has sold $10.3 million worth of tickets in its four-day domestic run.
The movie gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life of the colorful pop star. Paramount Pictures spent $12 million on production, and had predicted a four-day tally in the low- to mid-teens.

Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc, released "Katy Perry." "Savages" and "Ted" were distributed by Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp. Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. studio released "Magic Mike."

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