Spider-Man 2 opens in the US amid high expectations it will prove a money-spinning blockbuster sequel.
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are reunited for the sequel
The first Spider-Man film took more than $808m (£498m) globally and became the biggest US box office hit of 2002.
The sequel's release, scheduled to take full advantage of the 4 July holiday in the US, should ensure the film a colossal first week at the box office.
Stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst return in a high-action, but heartfelt film already winning critical praise.
Director Sam Raimi's sequel, which opens in 4,152 screens across the US, takes a closer look at the relationship between Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (Maguire) and his one-time girlfriend Mary Jane (Dunst).
Picking up Spider-Man's story two years on, the film sees Peter trying to balance his superhero and college student identities.
At the same time, he clashes with multi-tentacled villain Doc Ock, played by Alfred Molina.
The sequel, which cost a reported $200m (£109m) to make, has a hard act to follow given the success of the first Spider-Man film.
Its Wednesday opening in the US could undermine prospects for a huge opening weekend - since many people may see it in the first two days.
But the long weekend sets the film up for a record first week, as many Americans have time off work for the 4 July holiday.
Dunst was among the stars at the film's US premiere in Los Angeles
Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations, said: "It looks to me like Sony is trying to maximise its return over six days.
"I think it's all about that first week, not about breaking records."
The sequel already faces stiff competition at the box office, with this year's The Passion of the Christ hitting the $377m (£209m) mark and sequel Shrek 2 already grossing over $400m (£221m).
Avi Arad, head of Marvel Studios and a producer on Spider-Man 2, said: "On box office, I'm just too superstitious to speculate.
"I just know we have a better movie. The ways the reviews are looking, no-one is going to look at this and be saying, 'You didn't live up to the first one'."