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'Spider-Man 2' slings its way to setting a record

LOS ANGELES -- It looks as if Spider-Man has caught another box-office record in his web.

Unofficial estimates yesterday put the gross for "Spider-Man 2" in the $150 million to $155 million range since the film opened Wednesday, which would shatter the record for best Wednesday-Sunday opening, set in May by "Shrek 2" with $129 million.

"Spider-Man 2" distributor Sony declined to provide weekend estimates yesterday, saying it would wait to report numbers today. But other studios generally were tracking "Spider-Man 2" at about $90 million for the three-day weekend, which followed an estimated $64 million take on Wednesday and Thursday.

Official figures today could vary, since the timing of the Fourth of July on a Sunday throws off the formulas studios use to calculate weekend grosses. Studios base their numbers on actual Friday and Saturday grosses, with estimates added for Sunday's take.

At around $90 million, the movie's estimated Friday-Sunday haul would fall well short of the record $114.8 million opening weekend of "Spider-Man" two years ago. The original "Spider-Man" opened on Friday, though, while the sequel debuted Wednesday and millions of fans already had seen it before the weekend. "Spider-Man," which opened in early May, also didn't have the obstacle of a Sunday holiday. Besides breaking the five-day debut record, "Spider-Man 2" was poised to shatter the previous high for the best first six days, held by "The Matrix Reloaded" at $146.9 million. The previous weekend's top film, Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," held up strongly, taking in an estimated $17 million from Friday to Saturday. Doubling its theater count to 1,725, "Fahrenheit 9/11" pushed its total to $56.1 million and has a good shot at becoming the first documentary to top the $100 million mark.No other wide-release films debuted against "Spider-Man 2," but three new movies did well in narrow release. Debuting in 16 theaters, Kevin Kline's Cole Porter film biography "De-Lovely" took in $289,000 from Friday to Sunday for an impressive average of about $18,000 a theater.

In 20 theaters, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's "Before Sunset" grossed $229,000, averaging about $11,500 a cinema.

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