Spidey is swinging his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The world's favorite web-slinger is sure to recapture some of the magic it lost since Marc Webb relaunched the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Let's face it folks, Spider-Man is prime super-hero real estate and Sony couldn't afford letting the property fall any further behind in terms of box office numbers. The new collaboration will bring Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige on as producer of the next installment in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise alongside Amy Pascal. The character will also be making its first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Full release below:


New Spider-Man Will Appear First in an Upcoming Marvel Film Within Marvel's Cinematic Universe

Marvel's Kevin Feige to Produce Next Installment of the Spider-Man Franchise with Amy Pascal

(Culver City, California, and Burbank, California February 09, 2015) - Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man.

Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.

Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films.

The new relationship follows a decade of speculation among fans about whether Spider-Man - who has always been an integral and important part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comic books - could become part of the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Spider-Man has more than 50 years of history in Marvel's world, and with this deal, fans will be able to experience Spider-Man taking his rightful place among other Super Heroes in the MCU.

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company said: "Spider-Man is one of Marvel's great characters, beloved around the world. We're thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building."

"We always want to collaborate with the best and most successful filmmakers to grow our franchises and develop our characters. Marvel, Kevin Feige and Amy, who helped orchestrate this deal, are the perfect team to help produce the next chapter of Spider-Man," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."

"Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker's story into the future," added Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

"I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. "Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world's most beloved characters. Marvel's involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years."

Spider-Man, embraced all over the world, is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, with the five films having taken in more than $4 billion worldwide.


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By Daniel Garris

Paramount's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water surprised in a big way this weekend with a very strong debut of $55.37 million. The 3D animated live-action hybrid film based on the long running animated series blew past pre-release expectations. The film opened 73 percent stronger than the $32.02 million debut of 2004's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water opened just 20 percent below the $69.05 million start of last year's The LEGO Movie, which was certainly unexpected. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water delivered the fifth largest opening weekend ever for the month of February (behind only 2004's The Passion of the Christ, The LEGO Movie, 2001's Hannibal and 2010's Valentine's Day).

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water opened with $14.91 million on Friday, increased a healthy 62 percent on Saturday to gross $24.09 million and declined 32 percent on Sunday to take in $16.37 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.71 to 1. That was noticeably stronger than the 3.35 to 1 ratio of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The film did receive a so-so B rating on CinemaScore, though younger moviegoers under the age of 18 (who made of 50 percent of the film's audience) did give the film an A- score. With no real competition for family audiences throughout the month of February, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water should be able to hold up much better going forward than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie did back in 2004.

After leading the box office for the past three weeks, Warner's American Sniper fell to second place this weekend with $23.29 million. The blockbuster Clint Eastwood directed film starring Bradley Cooper was down just 24 percent from last weekend's performance, which was obviously deflated by the Super Bowl. This weekend's hold for American Sniper was especially impressive given that the film lost its IMAX screens to Jupiter Ascending and Seventh Son. American Sniper has grossed a massive $281.39 million after 24 days of wide release. That ranks the film as the third highest grossing release of 2014 thus far domestically and leaves the film just $18.61 million away from reaching the $300 million domestic milestone.

Fellow Warner Bros. release Jupiter Ascending debuted in third place with $18.37 million. The expensive 3D sci-fi film from The Wachowskis starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis debuted on the lower end of already relatively modest expectations. Jupiter Ascending was originally scheduled to open last July, but pushing the film back to February ultimately made little difference at the box office and likely even hurt the film's potential a bit. The opening weekend performance of Jupiter Ascending was quite similar to the $18.56 million start of 2008's Speed Racer.

Jupiter Ascending opened with $6.33 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.0 million from evening shows on Tuesday), increased 20 percent on Saturday to take in $7.57 million and declined 41 percent on Sunday to gross $4.47 million. That gave the film an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.90 to 1. Jupiter Ascending received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore and is likely to be significantly front-loaded due in part to fans of The Wachowskis rushing out on opening weekend. The audience breakdown for Jupiter Ascending skewed heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (82 percent) and towards male moviegoers (57 percent).

While Jupiter Ascending at least had a presence at the box office this weekend, Universal's Seventh Son didn't. The pricey and long delayed fantasy film (which was originally to be released by Warner Bros.) stumbled out of the gate with a fourth place debut of $7.22 million. Seventh Son debuted on the low end of expectations and represents yet another early 2015 release that audiences simply had no interest in (joining the likes of Blackhat, Mortdecai and Strange Magic). It should be noted that Seventh Son has had much more of a box office presence overseas.

Seventh Son opened with $2.29 million on Friday, increased 31 percent on Saturday to gross $3.00 million and fell 36 percent on Sunday to gross $1.93 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.16 to 1. Like Jupiter Ascending, Seventh Son also received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (68 percent) and towards male moviegoers (61 percent).

Project Almanac rounded out the weekend's top five with $5.23 million. The low budget sci-fi thriller from Paramount was down just 37 percent from last weekend. Despite the nice second weekend hold, Project Almanac is still performing below pre-release expectations with a ten-day start of $15.66 million.

Paddington followed very closely behind in sixth with $5.22 million. The family film from The Weinstein Company was also down 37 percent from last weekend, which represented a very solid hold, especially given the stronger than expected launch of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Paddington has grossed $57.12 million through 24 days of release.

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BoxOffice.com projects that American Sniper, which received a platform release starting on December 25, 2014, will end up with $360 million-$365 million during its domestic run--an impressive tally that will be more than enough to push Sniper past The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, 2014's current leader, which has earned $335.7 million since opening last November. (Looking strictly at grosses during the calendar year, Guardians of the Galaxy would be the champ with $328.1 million).

Without adjusting for inflation, director Clint Eastwood's most successful film before Sniper was Gran Torino with $148.1 million. Unforgiven's $101 million tally in 1992 would equal roughly $200 million when adjusting for inflation. 

Sniper won't be the first war movie to achieve this distinction. 1998's Saving Private Ryan was the most successful domestic earner released that year with $216.3 million, or $373.6 million adjusted. 



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By Alex Edghill

Fifty Shades Of Grey is looking mighty strong ahead of its release next week, riding the marketing and Super Bowl trailer buzz to 643,598 new likes over the past week. Now with 8 million+ likes before its release it is one of the most popular movies on Facebook prior to the release of its first film. Just a testament to the books and to how widely they have been embraced the world over. To put that number into perspective a bit, Twilight reused its Facebook page for their releases and it didn't cross 8 million likes until its third installment Eclipse came out. That was a few years ago and social media is a much bigger marketing tool today but still, its pretty impressive nonetheless. Even today, the main Twilight page is just shy of 50 million likes, that's after five films and over $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office. So Fifty Shades is already playing up in the rarefied air when it comes to Facebook likes. This is primed for a massive breakout next weekend and we are predicting a $89 million start for the film over the long four day holiday frame.

At number 2 the Minions keep on impressing like no other. Its true that they were a big part of the success of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, two certified blockbusters in their own right, but with a Facebook page of their own at 29 million likes (more than even the Despicable Me franchise page by over 10 million) this is screaming massive opening. This is now already one of the largest like totals for any animated film or franchise. By comparison, Shrek has 48 million likes, Toy Story has 35 million, Madagascar has 20 million and Ice Age 15 million. Triple digit opening? Definitely possible based on these signs.

Terminator Genisys has been lagging on social media in general but the Super Bowl trailer it aired seems to have given it a nice shot in the arm on Facebook where it has seen a 46% increase to just under 700,000 likes over the past week. The Terminator franchise is one of the few that have different pages for each of their films which is why the total is not much higher. The last film in the franchise Terminator: Salvation currently has ~1.5 million likes which means Genisys is doing really well in comparison as it should reach that number even before its release. Of course its a different game for online marketing and social media usage than it was six years ago when Salvation was released but I'm hopeful that Genisys might indeed be the shot in the arm that the franchise needs.

Furious 7 and Ted 2 also were in the top 5 to no one's surprise given their well-received Super Bowl ads. Furious 7 is about 5 million likes shy of Titanic for number 2 on the all time liked film page list (#1 is Harry Potter and its 76 million likes), a number it should be able to surpass during its run this year.

Facebook Top 15 Movies by Like Increase for the last week Ending Sunday February 8th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 02/13/15 Fifty Shades of Grey 8,191,132 7,547,534 643,598 8.53%
2 07/10/15 Minions 28,932,913 28,534,786 398,127 1.40%
3 04/03/15 Furious 7 54,774,242 54,445,408 328,834 0.60%
4 07/01/15 Terminator Genisys 694,996 476,067 218,929 45.99%
5 06/26/15 Ted 2 21,991,799 21,857,322 134,477 0.62%

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Jupiter Ascending descended on 65 overseas territories, claiming a $51.5 million day-and-date debut globally. The overseas tally amounted to $32.5 million, including strong starts in Russia ($4.7M), France ($2.5M), South Korea ($2.1M), and the UK ($2M). IMAX screenings outside of North America contributed $2.7 million from a total of 207 screens. The sci-fi flick expands to Australia on February 19, China on March 6, and Japan on March 28.

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fished out $16.2 million from 25 territories, 5.5 times better than the performance of the original Spongebob film across the same markets. The film opened at #1 in Brazil, where it delivered a strong $4.6 million debut at 508 sites. Spain also opened at #1 with $1.9 million from 329 cinemas. The Spongebob movie has grossed a total of $26.8 million overseas and $79.8 million globally.

Big Hero 6 crossed the $500 million mark globally this weekend, becoming the fourth 2014 Disney release to reach the milestone. It is the second consecutive year that four Disney films cross the half-billion mark at the global box office. Big Hero 6 marks the fifth occasion that a Walt Disney Animation Studios title crosses the $500 million mark. The film earned $12.7 million in its latest frame, including a third consecutive weekend as the #1 film in South Korea ($16.3M Cume) and second straight week as the top film in the UK ($11.4M Cume). Japan continues to lead overseas territories with $66.7 million. Big Hero 6 has grossed a total of $286.6 million overseas and $505.1 million worldwide.

Taken 3 brought in $11.2 million from 50 markets, taking its overseas cume up to $183.8 million. The action flick has grossed $268.9 million globally.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies earned $9.7 million over the weekend. The film has grossed a total of $113 million in China, making it the second highest grossing WB film of all time in the market. The final piece of the Hobbit trilogy has grossed $939.3 million worldwide.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opened in 5 new markets this weekend, including a $2.9 million debut form 630 screens in France. The film took in a total of $7.8 million from 21 markets this weekend. The film has grossed a total of $215.5 million overseas and $316 million worldwide.

Kingsman: The Secret Service earned $7.7 million from 4 markets, lifting its overseas/global total to $17.7 million. The film expands to North America and 35 additional overseas markets next weekend.

American Sniper took $6.5 million from 30 holdover markets, taking the cume outside of North America to $79 million. The surprisingly strong run of the film in North America lifts its worldwide total to $362.1 million.

The Theory of Everything earned $5.3 million from 44 territories to net an overseas cume of $59.1 million. The film has grossed a total of $90.1 million globally with 12 territories left to release.

Birdman is still riding high from awards buzz, taking in $4 million from 39 markets -with $1 million of that figure coming from its debut across 189 screens in Italy. The film has grossed a total of $34 million overseas and $69.1 million globally.

Penguins of Madagascar took $3.5 million over the weekend, raising its overseas cume to $264 million. The animated film has grossed $345.8 million worldwide.

Into the Woods took $3.4 million over the weekend, lifting its overseas cume to $45.9 million. The United Kingdom continues to lead overseas territories with a $13.4 million cume. The musical has grossed $171.6 million worldwide.

Unbroken made $3.2 million from 50 territories to reach an overseas total of $42.8 million. The film has grossed $156.9 million worldwide with 8 territories left on its schedule.


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