‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Swings to Top Box Office Spot

Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” also opens strongly while “Mortal Engines” malfunctions

Last Updated: December 15, 2018 @ 8:52 AM

Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is hitting analyst expectations and taking the top spot at this weekend’s box office, earning $12.6 million on Friday and on track to finish the weekend with a $35.5 million opening from 3,813 theaters.

With a $90 million budget, “Spider-Verse” is looking to leg out through the holiday season, as kids are only just starting to get out of school for holiday break and are expected to turn up in droves with their families to matinee screenings over the next three weeks.

The film has received overwhelming critical and audience acclaim, earning an A+ on CinemaScore and a 98 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, which should lead to strong word of mouth. By comparison, the Illumination movie “Sing” opened to $35 million in December 2016 and went on to post a domestic theatrical run of $270 million.

In second is Warner Bros.’ “The Mule,” which is also posting a solid opening after earning $5.8 million on Friday and is estimated for an $18.5 million launch from 2,588 screens. Clint Eastwood’s $50 million crime film is only getting a slightly positive reception from critics with a 64 percent RT score, but it has won over the veteran actor-filmmaker’s fans with an A- on CinemaScore. Like “Spider-Verse,” “The Mule” will attempt to leg out over the holiday season, but with older audiences looking for an alternative to superheroes.

The big bomb of the weekend is Universal’s “Mortal Engines,” which had a reported budget of over $100 million and is projected to finish below its already abysmal tracker projections with an opening of just $8 million and fifth place on the charts.

While the marketing for this steampunk dystopian film flaunted the phrase “From the makers of ‘The Lord of the Rings'” — Peter Jackson and filmmaking partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens wrote the script — critics panned the film as dramatically inert, giving the film a 28 percent RT score while audiences gave it a B- on CinemaScore.

Universal is expected to take a hit on this film, marking a tough end to what has been a strong 2018 with over $1.7 billion grossed domestically. Universal co-financed the film with Media Rights Capital, with Jackson’s WingNut Films also producing.

On the bright side for Universal, Illumination’s “The Grinch” continues to hold up strong as a Christmas family film, estimated to earn $12.7 million in its sixth weekend as it steams towards the $250 million domestic mark. The film is now guaranteed to be the top grossing family film from last month’s competitive market, as it has finished above Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” on this weekend’s charts. After three weekends at No. 1, the Disney film has fallen to fourth on the charts with an estimated $9.5 million weekend.

Outside the top ten is Fox’s “Once Upon a Deadpool,” a Christmas-themed, PG-13 cut of the studio’s “Deadpool 2” with new footage starring Ryan Reynolds and Fred Savage. Released on Wednesday, the film is looking at a $3.6 million five-day opening, with one dollar of every ticket donated to Fudge Cancer.