Sony is bringing "Spider-Man 3" to 4,253 domestic theaters on Friday, the widest opening of all time.
North America is the last territory to see Spidey. Pic launches May 1 in more than a dozen key territories, including Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Korea; another eight on May 2; 30 on May 3 (including China, Australia and Russia) and another 30 on May 4 (including the U.K. and India).
The domestic engagements could be tweaked by a few screens more or less, but should comfortably beat the 4,163 locations where "Shrek II" bowed for DreamWorks two years ago.
Sony launched "Spider-Man 2" at 4,152 in 2004.
Only other pics to have debuted in more than 4,000 locations include "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "Madagascar," "Superman Returns," "Over the Hedge," "Mission: Impossible 3" and "Shark Tale." All of those have been released since 2004 as Hollywood's race to put up massive opening numbers escalates.
After eight splashy premieres worldwide, Sony on Monday night made its final preem Stateside, showing "Spider-Man 3" on 14 screens simultaneously at the Tribeca Film Festival.
At the preem party in Gotham, Sony Corp. chairman and CEO Howard Stringer wondered whether the studio might've shot out "Spider-Man" last weekend in North America when overall biz was way down, giving Peter Parker even more of a chance to make his money grab.
But either way, the exec was confident, saying that he sees this installment in the series as "more of a date movie" than the first two in the franchise with the potential to draw even wider demographics.
"It's not just spills and thrills," said Stringer.
"Spider-Man" will be the first of a number of hotly anticipated summer sequels to swing into theaters, and the pic has two weekends with no true competish before having to grapple with Par/DreamWorks' "Shrek the Third" May 18. Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" sets sail the following weekend.
Auds certainly seem ready for some summer action: Last weekend, the multiplexes posted tepid numbers as Par-DreamWorks' PG-13 thriller "Disturbia" topped the charts with just $9 million in its third straight win.
"This is a great way to start the summer," said a Sony distribution honcho of "Spider-Man's" imminent launch. "Box office for the past few weeks has been lackluster, and audiences seem very ready for summer."
Sony has been adding 12:01 Friday ayem shows here to meet demand on the pic.