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'Spider-Man 2' catches $92 million to kick off summer movie season

By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," a sequel about the web-slinging superhero, snared $92 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over the weekend, taking the top spot on movie box office charts at the start of Hollywood's lucrative summer blockbuster season.

The big-budget, effects-filled movie starring Andrew Garfield is expected to rank as one of the year's highest-grossing films. With international sales, it has rung up nearly $370 million around the globe through Sunday, distributor Sony Corp said.

"The Other Woman," a comedy about three women out for revenge on a cheating husband, finished a distant second on domestic charts with $14.2 million, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier," another superhero sequel and previous box office champ, landed in the No. 4 slot with $7.8 million from Friday through Sunday, behind "Heaven Is for Real," a faith-based drama and Sony release which grabbed third place with $8.7 million for a $65 million box office total in just its third week of release.

The performance of "Spider-Man 2" could not quite match the strong domestic opening for "Captain America" in April, when the Marvel Studios film took in $95 million over its first three days. Ahead of the weekend, box office forecasters projected "Spider-Man" would collect $85 million to $95 million.

In the "Spider-Man" sequel, Garfield returns as the masked hero who swings through the streets and skyscrapers of New York, battling new villains including the formidable Electro played by Jamie Foxx. Garfield's real-life girlfriend, Emma Stone, portrays Gwen Stacy, the on-screen love interest of Spidey alter ego Peter Parker.

"This was a really fantastic result," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment, adding that the opening bodes well for Sony "not only meeting our goals, but exceeding them."

The film is Sony's biggest bet this year, with a production cost of roughly $200 million, according to movie website IMDB. Last summer, the studio suffered from two major bombs, thrillers "After Earth" and "White House Down."

"Spider-Man" leads a parade of action-packed superhero and monster movies that will reach theaters by August. They include "Godzilla" on May 16, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" on May 23, and "Transformers: Age of Extinction" on June 27. Hollywood earns about 40 percent of ticket sales from the first weekend in May through Labor Day in September.

Bruer said Sony was well-positioned going forward, saying "It's nice to be going into next weekend with no outrageous competition. That will give us a chance to build."

"The Amazing Spider-Man," which Sony released in 2012, took in more than $750 million worldwide according to the website boxofficemojo, and Bruer said the studio hoped to equal or exceed that total.

"Captain America," starring Chris Evans as the patriotic superhero, got a head start on the summer releases and generated blockbuster sales. Through Sunday, the film had earned $680 million globally, distributor Walt Disney Co said.

"The Other Woman," in its second week of release, brought its domestic total to $47 million. The movie stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton as women who are dating the same married man. Leslie Mann plays his wife.

Rounding out the top five, animated sequel "Rio 2," about a family of rare Brazilian birds, collected $7.6 million to bring its box office total to $106 million.

"The Other Woman" and "Rio 2" were released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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