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Spider-Man 3 had its world premiere in Tokyo the other day — the first big American movie ever to debut outside the US.

“Spider-Man 3,” the latest and possibly last film in one of the world’s most successful movie franchises, premiered on Monday with thousands of screaming fans cheering stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

Launching the sequel in Japan, home to a huge community of superhero comic fans, rather than the United States, was seen as a shrewd push into the faster-growing international market that could help boost box-office revenues.

Over the next week and a half, the film will also have gala openings in London, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Stockholm in a marketing plan aimed at seeing “Spider-Man 3” do as well at the box office as its predecessors, which collectively grossed $1.6 billion (800 million pounds).

The LA Times has a long analysis of the film, which cost a mere $250 million:

“Spider-Man 3” proves that Maguire can take a punch from a big fist made of sand. But the real risk is whether an American superhero with two hit movies earned by fighting off bad guys in the canyons of Manhattan, can remain a blockbuster draw in the international markets that are often more important to Hollywood’s bottom line.

“Who knows,” said Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer, when asked how long the Spider-Man franchise can be extended. “It’s so expensive.” Of course, “Spider-Man 3” is more than a movie. It is also a video game, a soundtrack and a bunch of other marketing hooks.

Stringer ordered the movie to premiere in Tokyo ahead of its May 4 U.S. opening to underscore his determination to make the point in Japan that the company should be as celebrated for its movies, music and video games as for its screens and consoles.

“In the digital age, who knows what came first: the content or the hardware, the chicken or the egg,” said Springer to the Tokyo audience before the curtain rose.

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Reviews are rolling in at AICN.

MEANWHILE, an even more interesting plotline is arising, regarding the rumor of Sam Raimi directing THE HOBBIT after Peter Jackson and New LIne parted ways. EW says it might just be true.

Raimi went on the record for the first time about his potential involvement in the project during an exclusive interview with EW’s Steve Daly for the magazine’s Summer Movie Preview issue, on newsstands Friday: ”Peter Jackson might be the best filmmaker on the planet right now. But, um, I don’t know what’s going to happen next for me right now. First and foremost, those are Peter Jackson and Bob Shaye’s films. If Peter didn’t want to do it, and Bob wanted me to do it — and they were both okay with me picking up the reins — that would be great. I love the book. It’s maybe a more kid-friendly story than the others.” (If Raimi were to take on a complex, intense project like The Hobbit — the rights to which New Line/MGM only has for a limited amount of time — it could force Columbia to either push back its production schedule for Spider-Man 4 or find a new director for the franchise.)

Spidey 4? Look, Sam…NO WAY. You need to make EVIL DEAD 4!!! It is time! No more farting around! Leave those hobbits alone.


  1. “the first big American movie ever to debut outside the US.”

    The Lord of the Rings movies were released in the UK before the US. I realize they had an Kiwi director and British source material, but New Line Cinema makes it an American movie.

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