Spider-Man has an amazing amount of pressure riding on his shoulders this week.
Just after midnight, “The Amazing Spider-Man” hit movie screens in the United States, carrying with it the hopes of Sony Pictures and a few Hollywood careers, too.
According to Variety, Sony hopes to rake in $120 million over the Fourth of July weekend with the franchise recharger.
Starring Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) and Emma Stone (“The Help”) as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man opened on 4,315 screens with 3,000 of them in 3D and 308 in IMAX, Variety said.
Early reviews are marginal at best, with The New York Times crediting director Marc Webb with keeping us fixated on Garfield and Stone.
“Webb’s Spider-Man movie works only because he keeps the whole package, at least until the requisite final blowout, tethered to his two appealing leads,” The Times’ Manohla Dargis writes.
In this installment, the script focuses more on Spider-Man's parents, something the first three movies ignored.
Newsday’s Rafer Guzman was less kind, saying the movie’s climax is “remarkably stale, as old as ‘King Kong.’”
We have to assume that he meant Fay Wray’s 1933 epic and not Peter Jackson’s 2005 effort.
Ann Hornaday at The Washington Post suggests you’ve seen it all before.
“’The Amazing Spider-Man’” subjects viewers to an origin story that they either already know or will find soporifically drab and draggy,” she writes.
By the way, soporifically means this 2 ½-hour yarn might put you to sleep.
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Having said all that, 91 percent of Rotten Tomatoes users say they want to see the movie, which might have Sony suggesting critics get bent.
Even so, the studio’s decision to re-launch Spider-Man with a relative unknown in Garfield caught some off guard, USA Today reported.
It was just five years ago, Spider-Man 3 spun $337 million at the box office; not bad considering the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy generated $1.1 billion.
That was with Tobey Maguire under the red-and-blue spandex and Kirstin Dunst screaming for help.
It had star power and results, so why change now?
Spider-Man’s producers told USA Today that Raimi declined a fourth installment, albeit gracefully.
That led to those involved re-thinking the entire approach.
“Look at James Bond — virtually every movie is a reboot,” producer Avi Arad told USA Today. “That’s not a bad thing if you have a fundamentally good story. You can have two chefs make cheesecake. They’re going to taste different, but they can still be delicious.”
International moviegoers responded well, giving the film $50 million in sales from openings in India, Japan and elsewhere.
The Hollywood Reporter suggests $125 million this week is within the realm of possibility.
It won’t have much competition, with concert film Katy Perry: Part of Me and Oliver Stone’s Savages also opening this week.
That should leave Spidey to tingle until Christopher Nolan completes his competing crescendo with The Dark Knight Rises, the third Christian Bale turn as Batman, on July 20.
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