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Culture

Spider-Man Spins Into Berlin

The star-studded Spider-Man premiere in Berlin was another part of the PR web being spun to ensure the movie enjoys the record-breaking success here that it did in the US.

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Tobey Maguire in tights - better known as Spider-Man

Even though Spider-Man doesn't hit German cinemas until June 6th, the web crawler and his entourage were center stage at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz on Monday night. Spidey himself, Tobey Maguire, was joined by on-screen love interest Mary Jane, played by Kirstin Durst, and arch-enemy Green Goblin, captured in all his green glory by Willem Dafoe.

Director Sam Raimi, whose filmography includes the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, was also there on the red carpet bathing in the spotlights and the equally sweet light of success. His film shattered box-office records with its $115 million opening and estimated earnings so far of $200 million.

The guest list of several hundred at the premiere was no less impressive. Christina Rau, wife of German president Johannes Rau, came to see Spidey somersault through the concrete valleys of New York. Ski jumping champion Sven Hannawald was there along with former US Ambassador John Kornblum and a whole spate of German TV and film stars.

A Little Bite Started It All

The legend of the red-and-blue-spandex-wearing hero began when young, nerdy Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically engineered spider in a lab. Soon thereafter, he discovered he had taken on several positive arachnoid abilities. Conveniently enough, the growing of extra appendages or multiple eyes weren’t part of the package.

Spider-Man

After Parker’s uncle is killed, he decides to use his new abilities in the fight against evil and not just in the fight to win the girl—in this case, the aforementioned Mary Jane. (photo)

Revenge of the Nerds

The secret of Spider-Man’s success, according to director Raimi, lies in the figure of Peter Parker more so than in the acrobatic web crawler himself. Parker is no millionaire like Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne or an alien from Krypton like Superman. He’s just geeky teenager Peter Parker, who everyone can identify with.

"Spider-Man is really one of us," said director Raimi at the premiere. Although most of us can’t climb walls or shoot webs from our wrists.

Tobey Maguire als Spider-Man

Leading man Maguire (photo) admitted to having never read Spider-Man comics when he was young, but came to admire the character when he read the script. To get into shape for that spandex suit, Maguire set himself on a strict five-month training regimen. A combination of yoga, gymnastics and a special diet gave him the agility and sinewy musculature to pull off Spidey’s appearance and a few of his tricks. Digital special effects technology took care of the rest.

Sequels Already In the Works

Columbia Pictures has already settled on the rights for filming two additional Spider-Man films, with Maguire again starring in the leading role. For his troubles, he’ll be paid the cool sum of $23 million. The sequels are scheduled to hit the big screen in 2004 and 2006.

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