Dear Spider-Man cast and crew,
First off, Happy 4th of July and greetings from Minnesota. I felt it was appropriate to write this letter on America's birthday to celebrate one of the greatest American movie records of all time, one that has still stood the test of time. While Americans everywhere will be watching fireworks shot over their respective towns and cities, I'm here to celebrate the fireworks your movie made over 4 years ago, and the record you set that has stood for over 200 weeks: the opening weekend gross record.
Your mark of $114.8 million, that shattered Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone mark by almost $25 million in May of 2002, seemed like it would've almost be destined to be broken, like most records are. But, after Superman Returns failed to live up to the hype this past weekend, scoring a dissapointing $52.6 million, it looks like your record just might be safe for another year. The only movie that can overtake your record, until next summer at least, is Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest that opens this Friday, but I'm not quite sure it has the moxy to overtake this massive record. Sure, it's estimated to be released in over 4,000 theaters this weekend, but, as history tells us, that doesn't mean a thing.
There have been 36 flicks that have opened wider than this flick, only 2 before Spidey's release, and almost all of them haven't even come close to breaking your record. There have even been 7 flicks that have been released in more than 4,000 theaters, some of them in 400 or 500 more theaters than your movie was released, and still, no one has really come close. Even Superman Returns bowed in 4,065 theaters, and its merely average opening weekend, and it's mind-boggling $260 million budget, could set it up to be the biggest bomb of the year. There have been 4 other flicks that had opening weekends of over $100 million, with the two closest to your mark being Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith with $108.4 million and Shrek 2, with just over $108 million, which needed the widest release of all-time (4,163) to even come close to your mark. On top of all that, while it technically doesn't even crack the top 150, the per-screen average of $31,768 is the highest that I've ever seen for a wide release of more than 3,000 theaters. Absolutely unbelievable.
With the theaters growing every year, you'd think this would be a record that would be broken every year, with opening weekend releases getting wider and wider. But, 4 years later, this record still stands, with only a very small handfull of flicks even coming close to this incredible mark. The main thing that's working in your favor is the recent trend to release blockbusters on Wednesday, so the bulk of the people will see it earlier... and not on Friday through Sunday. I'm sure they think it's to maximize profits, but the whole arguement doesn't really make sense to me. I don't see how two days early "maximizes" profit for a certain movie, but I'm sure that some of these releases, if they had been released on a Friday, could've broken your record, especially Revenge of the Sith since it took a whopping, record-breaking $50 million on its opening day, which was a Thursday. But the fact remains that your three-day run was at its profit-maximizing best. Even if someone does break your record in the near future, it will have been done on an inflated theater count that you didn't have the advantage of. It appears they don't make movies like they used to, and your astonishing record that has stood for four years is only proof of that. My hats off to you, and if anyone breaks the record, I hope it's the third installment of this fantastic franchise next year. Your feat has stood the test of time, and the way things are going, it will probably keep doing so for a long time. My hats off to you on your amazing record!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions for future Open Letters? Hit me up on the email at [email protected] You can also hit me up on MySpace now. Check me out at www.myspace.com/moviewebgallagher|www.myspace.com/moviewebgallagher and be my "friend" or whatever. Gallagher out.
Dont't forget to also check out: Spider-Man 3