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May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Call it arachnophobia. Whatever it is, the obvious fact is that rival studios have decided to clear a wide berth — 4,324 theaters wide — for Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this weekend, allowing it free rein to capture the lion’s share of box-office receipts. That share is likely to be worth just under $100 million domestically, according to tracking studies, and should edge out the $95-million launch of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, thus far the biggest opening of the year. The film is not getting a free pass from critics, however. Reviews have been decidedly mixed, but few superhero fans go to see a Spider-Man movie because of what critics have to say about it. (They didn’t think much of Amazing No. 1 either.) More consequential is its reported $150+ million marketing campaign, and some analysts have been severely critical of that, too. BoxOfficeMojo.com’s Ray Subers observed that some of the marketing for the film “gives off a ‘been there, done that’ vibe” and points out that the official Spider-Man poster “could easily have been grabbed from any of the previous outings.” Only the tagline — “His Greatest Battle Begins” — is distinctive, Subers indicated, “though that would be more effective if said battle was shown in some way.” But Forbes magazine film columnist Mark Hughes commented, “It’s got far more ‘event-status’ feel this time around, it looks (here comes the pun) amazing, and it’s going to get good word of mouth from audiences, which should all help it take the $100 plus/minus opening domestic weekend and run farther with stronger legs than its predecessor had.”