I am speechless.
Last Thursday, we had an office pool – how much money would Spiderman 3 make domestically over the weekend. Want to know my guess? A grossly underestimated $82 million. I figured with the lackluster (and worse) reviews, it couldn't possibly live up to the box office hype and tracking (only in an office like mine do we talk about tracking when making our bids).
Needless to say, I was wrong.
To my credit, I didn't have the lowest number by far. The numbers guessed ranged from $65 million (thought it was going to pull an MI:3) to $125 million — and none of us hit the mark.
Spidey's third time on the big screen broke the record just set by Pirates last summer and brought in a whopping $148 million dollars in the US alone – $375 million worldwide. In fact, it shattered most records that were there to be broken, like biggest opening day ever at $59 million. That's more than many films gross in their lifetime.
The question is, why would so many people flock to the theaters when the film got less-than-stellar reviews? The answer, I think, is that it's the first big, fun, summer blockbuster following a season of serious, violent, and in many ways, important films. This year's Oscar race, for example, was filled with post-apocalyptic and violent fare which to a large extent reflects the country's mood in the middle of war and in relatively chaotic times.
Spiderman 3 is the first real escape from that: from the war, from the economy, from rising gas prices, from the media. This is the first movie (of several to come this summer, including Pirates of the Carribean and The Bourne Ultimatum) that is truly and purely entertainment, and audiences have been craving it for months. So what that the reviews weren't great – movie critics are looking too hard for meaning. So what if it's 3 hours long – that's 3 hours you don't have to be running errands.
I think all the record really tells us is that audiences are sick and tired of the gloom…Behold the season of blockbusters! Let spectacle reign once more!