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'Episode II ' opens with box-office bang

On its first day on release Star Wars took in $30.1 in the United States.  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" opened to a record-breaking $30.1 million Thursday, according to 20th Century Fox, which is distributing the George Lucas film.

The final take of $30,141,417. established a new record for a weekday non-holiday opening. However, the one-day record belongs to "Spider-Man," which opened to $39.4 million May 3, a Friday.

"Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" opened to $28.5 million in 1999. Ticket prices have increased in the interim.

Fox is not predicting how much the new "Star Wars" film may make in its first weekend, but industry observers project it will earn more than $100 million between Thursday and Sunday. It is not expected to break the three-day total of $114 million set by "Spider-Man."

The box office comparisons between "Attack of the Clones" and "Spider-Man" are inevitable. But "Star Wars" is playing on just 6,000 screens in North America; "Spider-Man" opened on more than 7,500 screens, increasing its earning potential.

A broader comparison between "Star Wars: Episode II" and "Spider-Man" reveals some notable differences: "Spider-Man" cost an estimated $125 million to make; "Star Wars: Episode II" reportedly cost $80 million to $100 million. Columbia Pictures spent $50 million to market "Spider-Man"; industry observers believe Lucas spent around $30 million to market "Star Wars: Episode II."




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