Box Office: ‘Spider-Verse’ Spins $35-M; ‘The Mule’ Opens Strong $17-M

Box Office: ‘Spider-Verse’ Spins $35-M; ‘The Mule’ Opens Strong $17-M

 Peter Jackson’s tentpole ‘Mortal Engines’ stalled.


In another win for Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) Marvel films, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung to $35.4-M in its domestic open the best December opening ever for an animated film laying the course for a strong run over the year-end holidays.

Traditionally, most movies do noy score big mid-December openings.

But, they can enjoy strong multiples over the Christmas stretch. Spider-Verse, fueled by fanboys and families, scored a coveted A+ CinemaScore, a 1st for a Spider-Man film.

Warner Bros.’, a unit of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) R-rated The Mule, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood debuted to a strong box office, earning $17.2-M in North America. That is among the Top openings for any film Clint Eastwood has directed. The $50-M drama was driven by older moviegoers, with more than 50% the audience over the age of 50.

The Mule placed #2 and earned an A- CinemaScore, played especially well in America’s Heartland and in the South.

The R-rated movie also stars Dianne Wiest, Michael Pena, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne, Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga and Ignacio Serricchio. Bradley Cooper also has a small role in the movie.

The Mule tells the story of Earl Stone (Eastwood), a man in his 80’s who is broke, alone and facing the foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. What he discovers is that he has just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. Stone does the job so well that his cargo increases exponentially, and he is assigned a handler.

The weekend’s 3rd new nationwide offering, the Peter Jackson-produced tentpoleMortal Engines, bombed with $7.5-M for a 5th-place box office finish after drawing poor reviews and a B- CinemaScore from audiences.

Costing Universal, a unit of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and MRC at least $100 million to produce, Mortal Engines is a post-apocalyptic steampunk thriller directed by Christian Rivers from an adapted script by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. 

The film is facing major losses. It had hoped to make up ground overseas but is faring dismally offshore as well; Mortal Engines earned $11.5-M from 54 markets this weekend for a foreign take of $34.8 and $42.3 at the global box office.

At the specialty box office

Barry Jenkins’ awards hopeful If Beale Street Could Talk  launched in 4 theaters, posting a screen average of $54,793 the best of the weekend. The largest segment of the audience was between ages 25 and 34, at 31%

From Sony Pictures Classics, the Nadine Labaki drama Capernaum launched in 3 theaters for a location average of $9,196.

Lars von Trier’s controversial The House That Jack Built was weak, posting a location average of $1,225 from 33 cinemas.

Have some fun, see a movie this week.

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Paul Ebeling

Paul A. Ebeling, polymath, excels in diverse fields of knowledge. Pattern Recognition Analyst in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange and author of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly regarded, weekly financial market letter, he is also a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to a following of over 250,000 cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert.

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