I've always wondered why run-of-the-mill news media people seem so excited about box-office numbers. Everyone likes a winner, I guess. But as a Marvel Enterprises (NYSE:MVL) shareholder, I'm more than happy to listen to the talking heads hype the rapidly inflating gross take for Spider-Man 2.

The Sony (NYSE:SNE) joint took in $180 million as of Monday, setting several records in the process, including best July Fourth weekend, at $88 million; highest five-day gross, at $153 million; and best-ever Wednesday opening, with more than $40 million.

Spider-Man 2 might have broken even more records had the web slinger's handlers not chosen to release the film just before the busy holiday weekend, when potential moviegoers tend to be caught up with outdoor and family activities. Because of the timing, the original Spider-Man remains atop the pile for highest opening weekends. But even so, only DreamWorks' Shrek 2, a few of Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Harry Potter flicks, and Matrix Reloaded have had better opening weekends.

From a shareholder's point of view, the astounding fact is that the enormous take still hasn't reached the reported $250 million that Spider-Man 2 cost to make and market. The upcoming overseas releases, plus domestic legs provided by rave reviews, should put the movie into the black within days.

Unfortunately, what that means for Marvel shareholders is not quite clear. The firm recently resolved its dispute with Sony over the Spider-Man franchise. Details of the deal were not released, but it's sure to bring bigger licensing revenues. Factor in Marvel's long pipeline of other movie projects, its risk-averse business model, and lucrative side deals with everyone from Kellogg (NYSE:K) to Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Lions Gate Entertainment (AMEX:LGF), and you might wonder why the stock has been swooning lately.

Or maybe not. In the short term, the market is scary and irrational, like Doc Ock or Green Goblin. But in the end, good guys -- such as debt-free licensors with ample free cash flow -- prevail.

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Fool contributor Seth Jayson owns shares of Marvel Enterprises, but has no position in any other company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.