Marc Webb's Spidey sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is now comfortably approaching the $100m barrier. And although a domestic opening weekend haul of $92 million might seem like a lot of box office dollar, chalked up next to the money raked in by earlier superhero movies that opened on the same weekend in previous years, it's kind of a letdown.
Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 currently falls below not just the almighty Avengers ($207.4 million), which still accounts for the biggest opening weekend for any movie, ever. But it also ranks lower than the three Iron Man movies (which raked in $98.6m, $128m, and $174m, respectively), the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies before it, and many more.
Make no mistake: in the movie business, it's the worldwide box office that counts much more than the domestic figures, and Webb's Amazing Spider-Man 2 is doing significantly better overseas than in the US. So far, it's already earned $277 million. But the movie just doesn't seem to have convinced millions of American viewers of its theater worth.
So, what's keeping people away from the Amazing superhero outing? Let's weigh up what could be hindering our web-slinging friend...
Firstly, for many fans of the web-slinging superhero, there's very much a "been there, done that" feeling about the rebooted franchise. Sony hasn't really shaken off the fact that it took on Spider-Man and reinvented him in his entirety, when - even accepting the bumpy Spider-Man 3 - the films were creatively sound.
When the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man ended with a look at Spider-Man in a window reflection, there was - unsurprisingly - confusion at the teasing of the character's appearance; he'd only been on screen a few years before. Not only that, but the promotion then played up that we were getting an untold origin story, when in fact that was pretty much the last thing we ended up with. The Amazing Spider-Man re-did the genesis story of Spider-Man with little to distinguish it from a movie that had done the same job just over ten years before.
And so, after having sat through 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man just to test the reboot waters, perhaps fans realized that nothing new, or indeed untold, remained to be seen in Webb's retelling and have prematurely slammed the lid on the wholly "unnecessary" reboot.
With That Many Trailer Reveals, Who Needs a Movie!?
How many pre-release previews of a movie is too many? Although comic book fans should be pleased that Webb pulled no storyline punches regarding the key development that may have shocked those who didn't know it was coming, it was nothing if not overdone.
Sony released trailers, teaser trailers, sneak peaks of scenes, featurettes with exclusive footage and more - including Instagram videos showing off some of the more eye-catching action sequences of the hero swinging his way around NYC.
Okay, so movie promo is nothing new. But Sony seemed to reveal the movie's big secrets ahead of time in an attempt to grab the audience's attention. Gwen Stacy plummeting from a great height and being caught by Spider-Man before the two fall through a plate-glass ceiling, for example, is at best an unsubtle foreshadowing and at worst a massive trailer spoiler.
I mean, if you want to encourage fans to go see the movie in theaters, at least leave a little summin' summin' to the imagination... Right?
Early UK Release
A lot rides on how well the movie is received opening weekend - if it's great, there could be a box office bump in week two - if not, then all is lost.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swooped into UK cinemas Wednesday, April 16, while the US release trailed behind, waiting for May 2 to swing by. Official theater releases are often staggered this way, shown to smaller target audiences to judge if a movie will require a different, last-minute promotional attack, or just to see how well a film is received.
Judging by coverage the film received in the UK, the early release could've been a vital mistake. The Daily Mail's reviews were scathing, at best:
The narrative drifts, and those extravagant effects, paradoxically, make the film eminently forgettable, or at least indistinguishable from every other CGI-heavy assault on our senses.
Furthermore, The Independent explained "for all its attractive elements, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is hoary, unconvincing fare. The cobwebs are beginning to show." The Observer commented, "does anyone need these films, apart from the most addicted comics obsessives, and Stan Lee's financial advisers?" With the Financial Times commenting that "the chaotic story doesn't have much juice or spirit", the Daily Mirror saying "the stars lack sparkle, the story is rote and workmanlike and the action unexciting" and the rest.
There's very little doubt that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be successful, but releasing the movie in the UK early and risking negative reviews could perhaps have hindered the movie from being a quarter of a billion dollars successful.
There are certainly intriguing possibilities in the Spider-Man universe that Sony is planning, and the idea of a Drew Goddard penned and directed Sinister Six movie is a good place to start. But with the just-satisfactory US box office results for the Spidey sequel at the moment, there must be warning sirens in Sony HQ right now.
Do you think Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 deserved to be snubbed at the US box office? Let me know in the comment section below!
Don't forget - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is now in theaters.