'Spider-Man 3' Tracking “Thru The Roof”! Black Spidey Looks Bigger Than 1 And 2

EXCLUSIVE (refresh for latest): It’s very early, still. But I’m told the first round of tracking for Spider-Man 3 is better than the first pulse that was registered for either Spidey 1 or 2 pics in this all-important Sony franchise. Remember: the first two had a combined worldwide theatrical gross of $1.6 billion: $821.7 million for Spider-Man 1 and $783.7 mil for Spider-Man 2. “The early awareness and indicators are through the roof,” one box office guru told me. Said another expert: “With so many other movies struggling for attention this year, SM3 came on [tracking] with over 90% awareness and over 20% first choice a month out.” The big upside for Spider-Man 3, I’m told, is that moviergoers are responding like crazy to director Sam Raimi’s dark and disturbing “Black Spidey” very cool iconography that characterizes the third installment along with its tag line “The Greatest Battle Lies Within.” With great trailers, aggressive Internet and TV promotion, and a storyline which the other two films seemed to building towards, Spider-Man 3 should amass a $100+ million opening weekend in the United States beginning May 4th because, based on tracking, “the number is massive,” I’m told. (SM1 had a $114 mil opening weekend and SM2 $88 mil.) The new pic’s release will be a global event. Spider-Man 3 will debut first in China before it officially opens in North America. Since comic book caper kicks off the 2007 summer movie season, this is clearly going to be a banner year at the box office — probably the biggest in cinematic history — given all the sequels, prequels and tentpole pics being released. (See my LA Weekly column Orgy Of Sequels Climaxing In 2007.) There’s one downside: Wall Street film financing experts tell me that, based on SM3‘s budget, it may well be the most expensive film ever made. Sony privately is admitting to a budget of $250 mil, but analysts tell me it’s more like $300+ mil. (The previous $$$ record-holder is Warner’s remake of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory which cost about $272 mil, analysts say.) And that’s even without the promotion and advertising costs which are said to be another $75+ mil. (more…)

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