‘Spider-Man 2’ opens big, but comes short of ‘Captain America’ record

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Spider-Man’s latest film netted a massive number at the corner office this weekend — but in the end, the superhero couldn’t stick it to Captain America.

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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which hit theaters Thursday evening, debuted with $92 million, per an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures.  Steering into the weekend, pre-release audience surveys indicated the 3-D sequel starring Andrew Garfield would launch with about $95 million — placing it in a tight race for the top opening of 2014.

 By weekend’s end, however, that title still went to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” a sequel featuring another Marvel Comics favorite that launched with $95 million last month. However, Spidey is off to a pretty great start — though predicting just how big the picture will ultimately get is complicated.

The inaugural entry in filmmaker Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise opened during the busy Fourth of July holiday in 2012, collecting $137 million during its beginning six days — $62 million of which was cooked over the three-day weekend.

The film ran on to gross $262 million domestically — nearly 34% of its $752-million global haul. “It surely delivers the potential to surpass the first film’s gross domestically,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution president.

“We’re heading into another weekend, which is broad open, so we have incredible fun time. There’s something really awkward about this film, but we’ll need another weekend to experience how it shakes out.” Indeed, “Spider-Man 2” won’t face any challenger in the quadrant until May 16, when a new edition of “Godzilla” is slated for discharge.

One week later, nevertheless, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” will get in the market and is expected to do huge business, launching with about $100 million. Meanwhile, given the body politic of the ever-expanding international marketplace, the Spider-Man sequel will almost certainly gross more abroad than its precursor.

Over the past month, Sony has sent the movie’s stars crisscrossing the globe to promote the picture show in Tokyo, Beijing and Sydney, Australia. The studio also had red carpet premieres for the film in New York, Berlin, Rome, Paris and London.

“Spider-Man 2” has been overt in a handful of foreign markets for the final few weeks, and has now amassed $277 million from 90 countries overseas. This weekend, the movie opened in India, where with $6.5 million it had the biggest launch ever for a Hollywood film.

In China, where the final Spider-Man grossed most of its money internationally two years ago, the sequel made $10.4 million on its first day alone. The movie is playing on 11,002 screens in China, crossing off the largest release ever for a movie in the country.

Backward in the States, meanwhile, critics and moviegoers seem to be a tad less enamored with the second Spider-Man film than the initiative. The 2012 flick garnered relatively strofg notices, notching a 73% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the second entry is at 54% of the review aggregation website.

Audiences who saw “Spider-Man 2” this weekend assigned the film an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore — a healthy degree, though the original received an A-. This weekend, the sequel attracted more men than women, as 61% of the crowd was male. The movie played well with a young audience, too: Roughly 51% of those who saw the movie were under the age of 25.

Financed by Sony for around $250 million, “Spider-Man 2” follows the superhero as he strains to protect New York City from a heap of villains — the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti).

Without his suit on, as Peter Parker, the web-slinger is also attempting to see out his romantic life with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

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