$148 million. That's what America thought of the critics and their opinions this weekend, sweeping Spider-Man 3 to the Biggest Opening Ever. And as Defamer so smartly underlines by placing a little ™ after "shattered" in its box-office report — as in, "Spider-Man 3 shattered™ the opening-weekend mark previous set by Pirates of the Caribbean 2" — there was never any doubt this movie was headed to the stratosphere, critics be damned. This became abundantly clear at the Sony Pictures press screening in Times Square where critics were shunted through a half-dozen lines, made to wait as (it was rumored) various friends and family of Tobey Maguire were let in, and eventually watched Spider-Man 3 from the less-than-advantageous position of the first row. From that angle, the action scenes were impenetrable and the actors had never looked worse. (As our wife noted after the movie, "It's pretty hard to make Kirsten Dunst look fat, but from that angle, they pulled it off.")
The entire message of the press screening was Critics Don't Matter. And maybe that's a message the press needs to hear every once in a while. This weekend the American media were a bunch of J. Jonah Jamesons, running our "Spider-Man: Menace!" headlines while the citizenry ignored us and cheered the wall-crawler on.