There was no doubt that Sony’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ would conquer the box office in it’s debut weekend and indeed with its $92 million, it easily scored the top spot. The film’s budget cost $250 million to produce and the studio has since spent an additional $200 million to promoted it. $92M would seem to put the movie on pace to come out a resounding success, but there are other factors to consider.
‘Amazing 2’ is actually the lowest any ‘Spider-Man’ movie has generated in its opening weekend. On top of that, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ pulled in $95M in its opening weekend. Not a huge difference, but ‘Cap’ drew rave reviews with a CinemaScore of a rock solid “A” and great audience word-of-mouth. ‘Amazing 2’… not so much. Andrew Garfield’s second spin as the wall-crawler has a slightly lower “B+” CinemaScore but has been getting only poor-to-mediocre word-of-mouth, the highest compliment most people can pay it being “It’s better than the last one.” (Our reviewer Ben Silverio actually gave it a very favorable review.)
And while “the last one” (2012’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’) made a decent amount of money, it was not particularly liked by viewers or critics and over time, its memory has curdled like sour milk rather than aged like fine wine. Many movie-goers adopted a wait-and-see attitude with the sequel until they heard how others liked it. And while most people did think it was a better film than the last, that doesn’t come across as a ringing endorsement.
Most everyone expected ‘Amazing 2’ to drop from the top spot in its third week, when ‘Godzilla’ arrives on May 15, but now it looks like it will actually slip a week earlier under the might of Seth Rogan and Zac Efron’s broad comedy ‘Neighbors’ which currently has an 87% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes, versus ‘Amazing 2”s 55%. To put it another way, ‘Neighbors’ is predicted to make $35-$40M meaning that analysts predict that ‘Amazing 2’ will make less than that, which translates to a 60+% drop.
This can’t bode well for Sony who announced an ambition plan to milk their rights to Spider-Man (the only character they have licensed from Marvel) turning it into their version of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. In addition to a third ‘Amazing’, they’ve announced movies for ‘Venom’ and the ‘Sinister Six’ and a third trilogy starring the title character, which would have likely been another relaunch as Andrew Garfield has expressed that he doesn’t plan to return after the next movie. Should ‘Amazing 2’ under-perform, will that force Sony to revisit their plans? Honestly, ‘Amazing 3’ is a given and at this point, I think ‘Venom’ and ‘Sinister Six’ will also materialize. If anything, the third trilogy could be in danger. Should Sony move forward with the project, they may take some time off to let the franchise rest before going back to the well.
Why is the film not living up to its predecessors? It’s possible that fans are just experiencing fatigue with the brand. Whereas Marvel/Disney has hundreds of characters at its disposal and four headliners currently anchoring their own franchises as well as contributing to ‘The Avengers’, Sony just has Spider-Man and are stretching in their hopes that his supporting characters can headline their own movies.
Another factor is that these new movies are very similar to the previous three that were directed by Sam Rami. Once again we get Spider-Man’s origin (albeit with a twist with Richard and Mary Parker’s roles). They’ve swapped out Mary-Jane Watson played by the normally blond Kirsten Dunst with her hair dyed red for Gwen Stacy, played by the normally red-headed Emma Stone with her hair bleached blond (although, fun fact, in real life Emma is really a blond). Even the visuals and directing style are similar. Maybe the franchise just needs freshening up?
Should these numbers spell doom for ‘Amazing 2’? Or are analysts reacting too quickly? Do you want to see more Spider-Man onscreen or do you want a break?