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Sony's Spidey Kicks Off Summer

Friday, 4 May 2007 | 2:09 AM ET

Sony's Spidey Kicks Off Summer

AP

"Spider-Man 3" is breaking records, and it hasn't even opened in the U.S. yet; it premiered in Tokyo in April, and opened in 16 Asian and European countries on Tuesday, bringing in $29 million dollars on its first day alone.

Throughout Asia, the film opened bigger than the first and second films in the series; in some countries, it out-grossed the combined opening day of Spidey 1 and 2. And in some countries, the movie broke records for the biggest single-grossing day ever.

On Thursday night at midnight, it will open in the U.S., hitting 4,252 theaters, with projections of it making well over $100 million this weekend.

That's good news for Sony, which spent $258 million on the movie's production budget and at least a solid $100 million more on advertising. (And then there's the cost of making and distributing the movie prints, not to mention all the money that licensing partners including Burger King, Target, and General Mills, are spending.)

What's the strategy behind opening the film first in Asia and Europe? Movies generally open earlier in the week (on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) overseas, whereas they almost always open on Fridays in the U.S. But instead of waiting and opening in international territories later, turning one week into 'Spidey-Week' capitalizes on the marketing push, giving Sony the biggest bang for its buck.

Perhaps most importantly, Sony's trying to beat the pirates, opting to give interested moviegoers a chance to buy a ticket before pirated versions of the film's screening in the U.S. hit the streets. So they're taking the money while they can, before the bootleg DVDs inevitably hit. And considering the numbers, this strategy seems to be working so far.

The real question isn't whether the movie will beat "Spider-Man" 1 and 2's record this weekend; it's whether it'll beat the record of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" from last summer, which made $135 million on its first weekend.

Sony and the other Hollywood junkies will be watching the returns this weekend carefully. We may be on track for a $4.5 billion U.S. box office gross this summer.

Mouse Innovates

Congrats to Disney for moving up in the ranks of innovation... BusinessWeek is calling Disney the eighth most innovative company, thanks, I'm sure, to Disney's acquisition of Steve Jobs' baby, Pixar last year. And it's no surprise that Steve Jobs himself sits atop the list, with Apple ranked the most innovative company, followed by Google . And CNBC's parent, GE , comes in fourth. Not too shabby.

Music Goes Green

Enviro-friendly is so hip these days. Between the Prius and the metallic hemp dresses, why not green tunes? Tunes for Trees allows you to purchase iTunes downloads, but for every 10 songs purchased, they plant a tree. So why not rock out and feel self-righteous at the same time? This couldn't fit more perfectly with Steve Jobs' new push to make Apple more green.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.