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Television spots featuring never-before-seen footage from the film plus new original scenes have garnered significant attention from Internet and trade media. Hardee's Spider-Man antenna toppers are selling out in so many locations, the company has double-ordered additional toppers to meet the demand.
Meanwhile, online auction sites are swarming with collectors clamoring for the unique molded-plastic Spider-Man figures featured in the kid's meals. In addition, several Hardee's restaurants have reported the large Spider-Man cut-outs and poster displays missing, likely the victims of Spider-Man's ardent fans. Those same fans have even been offering to buy the Spider-Man promotional T-shirts off the backs of the chain's restaurant employees.
"We knew that the release of the 'Spider-Man' film would be a major event,but, frankly, we underestimated the response from fans," says Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee's. "Hardee's has had some very successful promotions throughout its history, but this looks like it is going to be our most successful ever."
Set to be released in theaters nationwide on May 3, 2002 by ColumbiaPictures, "Spider-Man" is the story of student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) who, after being bitten by a genetically altered spider, gains superhuman strength and the spider-like ability to cling to any surface. He vows to use his abilities to fight crime, coming to understand the words of his beloved Uncle Ben: "With great power comes great responsibility."
Directed by Sam Raimi, the film also stars Willem Dafoe as Spider-Man's nemesis the Green Goblin, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris and J.K. Simmons. Written by David Koepp and based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, the film is produced by LauraZiskin and Ian Bryce. Avi Arad and Stan Lee are executive producers.