Spider-Man 3's Huge Opening Weekend Haul

Also, on the subject of summer blockbusters, this season got off to a bang last weekend with the release of the much-anticipated Spider-Man 3. In case you haven't already heard, in his third big-screen mega-outing, Spidey raked in $151.1 million domestically and a stupidly huge $375 million worldwide. That's enough to shatter a handful of records and leave the upcoming competition (comprised of green ogres, mentally unbalanced pirates, and teenage wizards) feeling a tad nervous. There will be plenty of box office pie to go around in the end, but Spider-Man 3 has certainly set the bar high for a summer destined to be the biggest ever.

Spider-Man 3's colossal $151.1 million 3-day haul smashed the previous record for largest opening weekend, held by last summer's Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which brought in $135.6 million over a three-day period. I still remember when the first Spider-Man opened to $114 million five years ago. At that time, the idea of a movie grossing over a hundred million in one weekend was utterly mind-boggling. If you ask me, following the first Spidey flick's ascent to the annals of box office history was nearly as exciting as watching the movie (and I loooove the first movie). Since that summer of 2002, many more blockbusters have arrived to break records and make bucketloads of cash. It was only a matter of time before someone came along and toppled the orignal Spidey's 3-day opening weekend record. And so last year, Jack Sparrow and co. stormed theaters and claimed the record for their own. But not for long. Less than a year later, Spidey has reclaimed the opening weekend crown and looks to outgross the previous two installments in the ultra-successful Spider-franchise. To add insult to injury, Spider-Man 3 also broke the records for largest opening day gross and largest single day gross (which often go hand-in-hand) with its huge Friday take of $59.8 million. The record was previously held by (you guessed it) Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which bowed to $55.8 million last July.

Of course, an increase in box office does not equate an increase in quality, as was evidenced last summer by the needlessly long, drawn-out Dead Man's Chest. The same applies here to Spider-Man 3, which collapses under the weight of a messy, overstuffed storyline that seems determined to wrap up every plot thread from the previous two movies, while adding several more. Multiple villains is rarely a good thing, and Spider-Man 3 boasts a trio of baddies, none of whom are really all that bad. They're just angry, juvenile, or better yet, misunderstood. Each of the villains represent an aspect of Peter Parker and further one of the many storylines employed throughout the movie. It's a valiant effort on the part of the writers, but the result is a bloated mess with too much on its mind. Ultimately, each of the plotlines are merely skimmed over, providing a shallow experience that relies too heavily on its wildly expensive effects to make a lasting impression. While the effects work is sure to impress (the animation that brings Sandman to life should be enough to earn the franchise its second Visual Effects Oscar), Spider-Man 3 fails to deliver, as its emotional content is more laughable than moving.