The red-hot hero takes in an opening $180 million, while Fahrenheit 9/11 burns steadily

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 06, 2004 10:00 AM

What a web Spider-Man 2 weaves, netting a record $180 million in its first six days and smiting the previous best six-day opening high of $146.7 million set last year by The Matrix Reloaded, according to studio estimates.

Withstanding the heat from Spider-Man, the previous weekend’s top film, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, fell to second place with $21 million over the four-day weekend but still held its own. Taking in $60.1 million so far, it could become the first documentary ever to top $100 million mark, reports the Associated Press.

All told, it was a record Fourth of July weekend, with the top dozen movies taking in $158.5 million from Friday to Sunday, beating 2002’s previous high of $139 million.

With eight legs up on the competition, Spider-Man 2 (which opened last Wednesday) made $115.8 million from Friday to Monday, according to Sony estimates, placing Tobey Maguire and his red suit far ahead of the previous best four-day holiday gross of $95.6 million set by Shrek 2 over this year’s Memorial Day weekend.

With $152.6 million in its first five days, Spider-Man 2 also shattered the $129 million record of Shrek 2 for biggest Wednesday-Sunday debut, AP says. But the Spider-Man 2 Friday to Sunday take of $88.3 million failed to beat the best three-day weekend record of $114.8 million held by the first Spider-Man.

The weekend’s Top 10, according to studio estimates, were as follows:

1. Spider-Man 2, $115.8 million
2. Fahrenheit 9/11, $21 million
3. White Chicks, $12 million
4. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, $10.45 million
5. The Notebook, $10.3 million
6. The Terminal, $10.2 million
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, $8.1 million
8. “Shrek 2, $7.9 million
9. (tie) Garfield: The Movie, $3.6 million
9. (tie) Two Brothers, $3.6 million