On Friday night, we had shows virtually on the half hour with 4, 400+ seat theaters running it and one 250+ seater. Every show from 5:30pm to 11pm sold out (that's 10 showings total), around 1 to 2 hours in advance, AND just because we were on a roll we added an 11:30 show that sold 80% capacity. Amazing! It amused me when people would walk up one hour before showtime, or even 30 minutes or less before showtime and were totally dumbfounded when we told them it was sold out for that show plus the next one. COME ON! You seriously thought there would be seats a-plenty for such a big movie? We ended up doing about 6300 people for the day (all movies), which was sweet. The parking lot was almost at capacity!
Saturday night was the same situation, but a little less people. It was sellouts again from 5:30pm to 10pm, but they were "painful sellouts" as I call them... just barely selling out before showtime, except that 9:30 showtime sold out again waaaay in advance. Wonder why that time's so popular? Many people were buying their tickets online in advance, which is great for us... one swipe of your CC and off you go. Lots of ticket-switching and voids as usual as people don't want to wait in long holdout lines to get into the theaters, or people saying there's no seats in the theater (even after we made people move over and seated them) but most people are nice about that and switch to a different showtime. The holdout lines began an hour before showtimes and were wrapping down the long halls, into the corridors and around like a paperclip. It really was a sight to see.
We had security around to watch the crowd, but no reports of fights or other trouble. Just lots of young kids hanging around in large groups, being noisy.
Here's BoxOfficeMojo.com's report on the weekend... a record-breaker!
'Spider-Man 3' Soars Into Record Books
by Brandon Gray
May 6, 2007
Five years after Spider-Man made box office history, the franchise amazed again, breaking the same records of the first movie and then some.
Landing on the same early May slot as the original, Spider-Man 3 spun an estimated $148 million on over 10,000 screens at 4,252 locations, the biggest opening weekend and widest release ever. The litany includes all-time daily grosses for its $59.3 million Friday, $51 million Saturday and a projected $37.7 million Sunday, fastest to $100 million and the mightiest IMAX debut: an estimated $4.8 million at 84 sites (included in the weekend total), topping 300's $3.6 million.
The previous weekend title holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, reaped $135.6 million on over 8,500 screens at 4,133 locations last July. As impressive as Spider-Man 3 was, it was expected to eclipse that record, given its timing and the popularity and the precedents of its franchise. The first Spider-Man nabbed $114.8 million on 7,500 screens at 3,615 venues in 2002, and was the first movie to crack $100 million in three days. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, its start would equal over $130 million today.
Ultimately, Spider-Man grossed $403.7 million (or nearly $460 million adjusted), while the Pirates sequel closed with $423.3 million. Muted by a Wednesday start and Independence Day release, Spider-Man 2 had an $88.2 million first weekend and it wound up with $373.6 million (or around $396 million adjusted).
Distributor Sony, which claims Spider-Man 3 cost $258 million to make, hoped to at least match the first Spider-Man's opening or hit the $120 million range, according to president of distribution Rory Bruer. "The majority of audiences we polled liked this one better than the first two," Bruer added, while opening night moviegoer pollster CinemaScore's grade was "B+." Sony's polling further indicated that the audience was 54 percent male and 63 percent under 25 years old.
The market as a whole grossed an estimated $185.5 million over the weekend, with Spider-Man 3 accounting for 80 percent of that tally. Indeed, the gap between Spider-Man 3 and second place Disturbia was the largest on record. That's no slight on Disturbia, a hit in its own right enjoying the weekend's strongest hold among wide releases, but a sign of how low the box office fell the past two weeks.
Overall business saw a 68 percent improvement over last summer's kick-off, when Mission: Impossible III opened, and attendance was on par with 2002 when the first Spider-Man debuted with 70 percent market share.
The weekend's other wide release, Lucky You, folded out of the gate, drawing an estimated $2.5 million at 2,525 venues. Distributor Warner Bros. had batted the poker romance around the release schedule since 2005.
At the foreign box office, Spider-Man 3 captured another record: biggest overall weekend, with an estimated $227 million from 107 countries since Tuesday. Add in domestic's $148 million and, all told, Spider-Man 3 generated $375 million, which tops Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith's $303.9 million as the highest-grossing worldwide debut of all time—a notable feat but one achieved mostly through the sheer mass of the release.
So how'd it go at your theaters? I can't wait until we have Spidey 3 PLUS Shrek 3 and Pirates 3 all going at the same time... there will be quite the crowd. =)