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On this Day in Movie History, May 5, 2002: Spiderman, Does Whatever a Spider Can

On this day, May 5, 2002, within a single weekend, a movie adaptation of the comic book hero Spider-Man breaks box office records.

Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as the great web-slinger, Spider-Man, released on May 3, 2002, became the fastest movie to earn more than $100 million at the box office. Opening in more than 3,600 theaters nationwide, it raked in a staggering $114 million by Sunday, May 5.

Spider-Man, on opening day alone, grossed over $39.4 million. This was more than the previous mark of $32.3 million, set by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had taken five days to pass the $100 million mark, as had 1999’s Stars Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.

Spider-Man would go on to earn some $403.7 million domestically, more than any other comic book movie to that date; this thanks in part to a combined marketing efforts of Columbia Pictures and Marvel Comics, a smart script and generally good acting, as well as its high-tech special effects.

Super-hero movies traditionally faired well at the box office, as evidenced by the hit Superman and Batman films, but this was unprecedented. It happened on this day in movie history, May 5, 2002.

1914 – Tyrone Power (Tyrone Edmund Power Jr.) (actor: Tom Brown of Culver, The Mark of Zorro, Blood and Sand, This Above All, The Eddie Duchin Story, The Long Gray Line, Witness for the Prosecution; died Nov 15, 1958)

1915 – Alice Faye (Alice Jeanne Leppert) (actress: In Old Chicago, Lillian Russell, Rose of Washington Square, Tin Pan Alley, State Fair; died May 9, 1998)

1937 – Sandy Baron (Sanford Beresofsky) (comedian, actor: Leprechaun 2, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Motorama, Birdy; died Jan 21, 2001)

1940 – Lance Henriksen (actor: Powder, Felony, Dead Man, Baja, Spitfire, Color of Night, The Criminal Mind, Delta Heat, Alien 3, The Last Samurai, Johnny Handsome, Near Dark, The Terminator, The Right Stuff, Prince of the City, Damien: Omen 2, Dog Day Afternoon)

1944 – Jean-Pierre L’aud (actor: The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Love on the Run, LA Vie de Boheme, 36 Fillete, Last Tango in Paris)

1957 – Richard E. Grant (actor: Jack and Sarah, Cold Light of Day, Ready to Wear, L.A. Story, The Age of Innocence, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Hudson Hawk, Henry and June)

1973 – Tina Yothers (actress: Family Ties, Laker Girls, Spunk: The Tonya Harding Story)

1946 – Jim Kelly (actor: Stranglehold, Ultimatum, One Down, Two to Go, Mr. No Legs, Death Dimension, The Tattoo Connection, Black Samurai, Hot Potato, Take a Hard Ride, others)

1979 – Vincent Kartheiser (actor: In Time, Elektra Luxx, Killing Zelda Sparks, Alpha Dog, Dandelion, The Unsaid, Luckytown, The Indian in the Cupboard, Little Big League, others)

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