Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is off to a solid start at the box office this weekend, topping the charts with a $35.4 million opening from 3,813 screens.
When compared to the openings for past animated films from producers Phil Lord (who also co-wrote the script for “Spider-Verse”) and Chris Miller, this is a drop. “The Lego Batman Movie,” for example, had an opening of $53 million in February 2017. But this the “Spider-Verse” opening holds tomorrow, it will just edge out the $35.2 million start of 2016 Illumination movie “Sing” for the best animated opening in December box office history.
“Sing” ended up legging out all the way to a $270 million domestic run, and Sony is hoping for a similarly strong holiday season run for the $90 million “Spider-Verse.” Word of mouth has been overwhelmingly positive, as the film earned an A+ on CinemaScore and dazzled critics with a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. With kids out from school over the next several weeks, the studio is hoping that the word of mouth will lead to a sustained turnout, even as other superhero and family films like “Bumblebee,” “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” enter the market next week.
In second this weekend is Warner Bros.’ “The Mule,” which has hit studio projections with a $17 million opening from 2,855 screens. Made on a $50 million budget, Clint Eastwood’s latest film only has a 64 percent Rotten Tomatoes score but has won over the director’s devoted fanbase with an A-.
WB will look for “The Mule” to have a similar pull with older audiences that Sony is hoping “Spider-Verse” will have with families, as the crime drama serves as an alternative to many of the fantasies that will dominate movie theater marquees this weekend.
The third new release this weekend is Universal’s “Mortal Engines,” which has supplanted “Robin Hood” as the biggest bomb of 2018. With a reported budget of at least $100 million, the dystopian action film is reporting an opening of just $7.5 million. It’s the first bomb of 2018 for a blockbuster with a $100 million-plus budget. Overseas, the film has grossed $34.8 million for a total of $42.3 million.
The opening for “Mortal Engines” was so low that it was easily topped on the charts by another Universal film, Illumination’s “The Grinch.” The animated film is in its sixth weekend but is still going strong with $12 million grossed, pushing the domestic total closer to $250 million. “Grinch” is also now guaranteed to beat the domestic run of Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which fell from first to fourth on the charts this weekend with a $9.6 million total.
Finally, outside the top 10, Fox’s PG-13 “Once Upon a Deadpool” opened to $4 million over five days. It’s a solid result for what is essentially a re-release of “Deadpool 2,” with some new footage starring Ryan Reynolds and Fred Savage for a Christmas theme. While the totals for “Once Upon a Deadpool” aren’t officially added to those of “Deadpool 2” because of the rating change, it would push the film’s lifetime gross to $322.3 million.