Weekend Actuals: ‘Spider-Man’ Swings to $35.3M Debut; ‘The Mule’ Smuggles $17.5M in 2nd; ‘Mortal Engines’ Underperforms w/ $7.5M
'Aquaman' is the top-grossing title globally with $131.3 million
Monday Update: The incredibly crowded second half of December began this weekend with four new wide releases, led by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with $35.3M.
Sony’s animated superhero movie opened about in line with expectations, helped by very strong reviews. It debuted far below any of the six standalone live action Spider-Man installments, although it wasn’t expected to come anywhere close.
Warner Bros.’ drama The Mule began in second place with $17.5M, about in line with projections.
Universal’s animated Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch took third place with a mild -22% decline to $11.7M. With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, the timely movie had the best hold of any holdover movie in this weekend’s top 10.
The box office leader for the past three consecutive weekends, Disney’s animated sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, fell to fourth place with a -43% drop to $9.2M.
Universal’s sci-fi Mortal Engines, which already had very low box office projections relative to its high budget, came in below even those low expectations with a $7.5M start in fifth place.
Once Upon a Deadpool, Fox’s PG-13 cut of this summer’s originally R-rated Deadpool 2, opened outside the top 10 entirely with an 11th place start of $2.6M.
Annapurna’s awards contender If Beale Street Could Talk opened on four screens and captured the weekend’s best per-theater average with $56,119.
Globally, the biggest movie yet again was Warner Bros.’ superhero movie Aquaman, which is posting massive numbers overseas before its domestic release next Friday. The film earned $131.3M this weekend for an overseas total of $266.4M so far.
Total box office this weekend was $115.5M.
That’s +35.3% above last weekend but -58.5% below this same weekend last year, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened with one of the top three biggest opening weekends of all time at $220.0M.
Year-to-date box office stands at $11.12B. That’s +9.0% ahead of this same date last year, down from +10.3% after last weekend.
With the caveat that audience demographics for Mortal Engines were not available as of this writing…
The most male audience in this weekend’s top 10 was The Mule at 60.1%, while the most female audience was Instant Family at 63.8%.
The most under-25 audience in this weekend’s top 10 was Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch at 54.6%, while the most over-25 audience was Green Book at 93.6%.
A full demographic breakdown of the top 30 movies this weekend, courtesy of BoxofficeProfile by Vertigo, is below:
Our full table of weekend actuals is below, followed by our Sunday update which featured fuller analysis.
Monday’s Weekend Actuals (Domestic)
FRI, DEC. 14 – SUN, DEC. 16
|1||Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||$35,363,376||—||3,813||—||$9,274||$35,363,376||1||Sony / Columbia|
|2||The Mule||$17,509,431||—||2,588||—||$6,766||$17,509,431||1||Warner Bros.|
|3||Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch||$11,753,665||-22%||3,759||-82||$3,127||$239,463,375||6||Universal|
|4||Ralph Breaks the Internet||$9,274,018||-43%||3,575||-220||$2,594||$154,149,896||4||Disney|
|6||Creed II||$5,385,914||-46%||3,107||-645||$1,733||$104,870,060||4||MGM / Warner Bros|
|7||Bohemian Rhapsody||$4,314,179||-30%||2,213||-740||$1,949||$180,612,379||7||20th Century Fox|
|8||Instant Family||$3,790,287||-34%||2,860||-566||$1,325||$60,288,341||5||Paramount Pictures|
|9||Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald||$3,789,839||-46%||2,606||-845||$1,454||$151,793,249||5||Warner Bros.|
|10||Green Book||$2,774,630||-29%||1,215||34||$2,284||$24,654,996||5||Universal Pictures|
|11||Once Upon A Deadpool||$2,683,200||—||1,566||—||$1,713||$3,967,120||1||20th Century Fox|
|12||Widows||$1,269,201||-60%||1,228||-933||$1,034||$40,884,857||5||20th Century Fox|
|13||Robin Hood||$1,216,031||-66%||1,720||-853||$707||$29,799,864||4||Lionsgate / Summit|
|14||The Possession of Hannah Grace||$1,184,814||-63%||1,307||-991||$907||$13,909,719||3||Sony / Screen Gems|
|1||The Favourite||$2,605,484||73%||441||350||$5,908||$6,775,387||4||Fox Searchlight|
|2||A Star is Born||$1,040,024||-58%||842||-789||$1,235||$199,178,098||11||Warner Bros.|
|3||The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||$566,468||-49%||644||-526||$880||$53,668,267||7||Walt Disney Pictures|
|5||At Eternity’s Gate||$191,642||-40%||178||4||$1,077||$1,450,002||5||CBS Films|
|6||Can You Ever Forgive Me?||$135,344||-47%||166||-99||$815||$7,260,204||9||Fox Searchlight|
|7||Venom||$134,288||-56%||209||-179||$643||$212,969,264||11||Sony / Columbia|
|9||Boy Erased||$87,475||-79%||173||-449||$506||$6,646,972||7||Focus Features|
|12||The Hate U Give||$64,508||-53%||130||-105||$496||$29,563,368||11||20th Century Fox|
|13||The Old Man & The Gun||$36,347||-58%||100||-36||$363||$11,134,906||12||Fox Searchlight|
|1||Mary Queen of Scots||$699,745||259%||66||62||$10,602||$962,580||2||Focus Features|
|2||If Beale Street Could Talk||$224,476||—||4||—||$56,119||$224,476||1||Annapurna|
|4||Ben Is Back||$141,680||75%||29||25||$4,886||$250,612||2||Roadside Attractions / LD Entertainment / Lionsgate|
|8||The House That Jack Built||$34,091||—||32||—||$1,065||$200,758||3||IFC Films|
|9||The House With A Clock In Its Walls||$31,500||-28%||96||-18||$328||$68,475,090||13||Universal Pictures|
|11||Maria By Callas||$30,174||-71%||62||-87||$487||$1,141,365||7||Sony Pictures Classics|
|12||Capernaum||$24,988||—||3||—||$8,329||$24,988||1||Sony Pictures Classics|
|13||A Cool Fish||$24,779||-56%||13||-21||$1,906||$516,472||5||China Lion Film|
|14||Halloween (2018)||$22,035||-56%||68||-70||$324||$159,300,595||9||Universal Pictures|
|15||The Wife||$21,632||-90%||67||-354||$323||$8,152,628||18||Sony Pictures Classics|
|16||The Girl in the Spider’s Web||$20,417||-61%||83||-69||$246||$14,828,555||6||Sony / Columbia|
|18||A Private War||$15,056||-37%||50||15||$301||$1,598,931||7||Aviron Pictures|
|19||Crazy Rich Asians||$13,870||-38%||48||-30||$289||$174,008,431||18||Warner Bros.|
|20||Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel||$12,678||—||1||—||$12,678||$12,678||1||Menemsha Films|
|22||Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki||$9,899||—||4||—||$2,475||$69,270||1||GKIDS|
|23||The Front Runner||$9,887||-91%||53||-356||$187||$1,994,179||6||Sony / Columbia|
|24||Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween||$9,740||-53%||40||-90||$244||$46,697,321||10||Sony|
|27||Becoming Astrid||$5,233||-48%||13||-2||$403||$66,126||4||Music Box Films|
|28||The Quake||$3,256||—||7||—||$465||$3,256||1||Magnolia Pictures|
|29||Wings of Desire (2018 re-release)||$3,219||53%||2||1||$1,610||$109,353||9||Janus Films|
|30||The Sisters Brothers||$2,950||11%||11||2||$268||$3,140,267||13||Annapurna Pictures|
|31||The Charmer||$2,922||-29%||1||0||$2,922||$10,992||2||Film Movement|
|34||Tea With the Dames||$2,064||-29%||7||-2||$295||$858,897||13||IFC Films|
|35||Swimming with Men||$2,034||-80%||7||-24||$291||$19,616||2||IFC Films|
|36||Sicilian Ghost Story||$1,718||75%||1||0||$1,718||$9,602||3||Strand Releasing|
|37||The Tag Along: The Devil Fish||$1,662||-85%||1||-7||$1,662||$18,870||2||China Lion Film|
|38||No Date, No Signature||$1,573||—||1||—||$1,573||$35,450||20||Distrib Films US|
|39||Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes||$1,362||-93%||5||-10||$272||$33,382||2||Magnolia Pictures|
|40||Detour (2018 re-release)||$1,150||14%||1||0||$1,150||$12,185||3||Janus Films|
|41||Gosnell: The Trial Of America’s Biggest Serial Killer||$936||-79%||3||-8||$312||$3,679,653||10||GVN Releasing|
|43||The Happy Prince||$686||-84%||2||-6||$343||$464,495||10||Sony Pictures Classics|
|44||Weed the People||$681||41%||1||0||$681||$13,910||8||Mangurama|
|47||Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras)||$252||—||1||—||$252||$31,177||21||Distrib Films Us|
|48||Narcissister Organ Player||$174||-48%||3||1||$58||$14,319||6||Film Movement|
Sunday Update: After two weeks with no major new movie releases, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse injected some life into the theatrical marketplace this weekend with a strong opening of $35.4 million, which ranks as the highest opening ever for an animated film in the month of December. Additionally, Clint Eastwood’s latest film The Mule posted a solid debut, The Mortal Engines floundered, and Once Upon a Deadpool – the PG-13 re-release of Deadpool 2 with all-new footage – debuted just outside the Top 10 in 1,566 locations.
Marking the seventh time the Marvel webslinger has topped the box office charts, Into the Spider-Verse was buoyed by stellar reviews (its Rotten Tomatoes score is 97%), its appeal to a wide cross-section of the moviegoing audience, and the character’s enduring popularity. As both the first animated Spider-Man film to be released in theaters and the first to debut outside the summer moviegoing season, it was unclear how the film would stack up to previous live-action installments of the Sony franchise. And while the film’s $35.4 million debut is certainly lower than any of its franchise predecessors (the previous low was 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which opened to $62 million), with a perfect “A+” Cinemascore, Spider-Verse‘s long-term prospects look bright.
Into the Spider-Verse certainly benefitted from being the first tentpole release to hit theaters since Thanksgiving weekend, but with hype building steadily prior to its release (it received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature) and the trailer regularly finishing among the top three titles in terms of audience interest in our Trailer Impact surveys, the film had all the makings of a late-in-the-year hit regardless. It also didn’t hurt that its main animated competitors in the marketplace – namely Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and Ralph Breaks the Internet – are past the prime of their respective runs (though both continue to perform strongly). With younger audiences close to taking off school for winter break and word-of-mouth likely to be strong, it’s reasonable to expect that the film will continue performing well through the end of the year and beyond, even with the highly-anticipated Warner Bros./DC superhero film Aquaman primed to surface next weekend.
Debuting in second place with $17.2 million was The Mule, the first directing and starring vehicle for Clint Eastwood since 2008’s Gran Torino (as well as his first starring vehicle since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve, directed by Robert Lorenz). Unlike Torino, which went through four weeks of limited release in mid-December before debuting wide in January, The Mule opened wide right out of the gate in 2,588 theaters. This opening is an improvement on Curve, which debuted to $12.1 million and finished with a disappointing $35.7 million in North America. As a director, The Mule represents Eastwood’s fifth-best wide opening ever (not adjusting for inflation) after American Sniper ($89.2 million), Sully ($35 million), Gran Torino ($29.4 million), and Space Cowboys ($18 million).
While reviews for The Mule have been mixed (the film is barely “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with 63%), audiences seem to like it much better, with the film pulling in an “A-” CinemaScore from opening day audiences and a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score metric. Even in his late 80s, Eastwood continues to hold strong appeal for wide audiences who gravitate to his brand of grizzled, tough-as-nails protagonists, and The Mule appears to be no exception. As an added bonus, there are few titles currently in release that cater to the 50-and-over demo, so the film counts as something of a counter-programmer amidst a slew of more youth-oriented releases. Indeed, 54% of the film’s opening weekend audience was over the age of 50.
Third place went to the continuing powerhouse that is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, which this weekend officially overtook Ralph Breaks the Internet with an estimated gross of $11.6 million. That gives the Universal blockbuster a fantastic $239.3 million after six weeks of release. The animated retelling of the classic book continues strong thanks to its tie-in with the upcoming Christmas holiday, and with still two weeks of December left it seems likely to surpass the lifetime gross of the live-action Grinch starring Jim Carrey ($260 million) by the end of its run, not adjusting for inflation.
Falling three spots to fourth place after topping the box office for the last three weeks in a row is Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, which took in an estimated $9.6 million in its fourth weekend of release. With $154.4 million in North America, the animated sequel is currently pacing 4% ahead of Wreck-It Ralph at the same point in its run, though it’s losing steam slightly faster than its predecessor. The original film had a final tally of $189.4 million in North America.
Stumbling into fifth place was YA adaptation Mortal Engines, which grossed an estimated $7.5 million in its opening frame. The Universal release, which cost a reported $100 million to produce, had a number of factors working against it, from poor critical notices (its Rotten Tomatoes score is just 27%) to the waning box office performance of the once-hot YA fantasy genre. This despite the studio’s heavy push of producer and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s name in marketing materials and the book’s considerable pre-existing fanbase. It didn’t help that the film went head-to-head with Into the Spider-Verse, which also held considerable appeal with tweens and teens, thereby eating into Engines‘ audience. With this opening, the film will undoubtedly be counted as one of the more disappointing box office performers of the season.
Sixth place went to MGM’s Creed II, which grossed an estimated $5.3 million in its fourth weekend of release. The Rocky-adjacent sequel is now running about 16% ahead of its predecessor at the same point in its run and has now crossed the $100 million mark. With a total of $104.8 million, it should surpass the first Creed‘s lifetime gross by next weekend.
Down in seventh, Bohemian Rhapsody dropped just 33% from last weekend with an estimated $4.1 million, bringing the total for the Fox release to a spectacular $180.4 million after seven weeks of release. That makes the Freddie Mercury biopic the second blockbuster music-based drama of the fall season after A Star Is Born, which is primed to cross the $200 million mark this week.
Eighth place went to Instant Family, which boasted another strong hold this weekend, dipping just 35% to an estimated $3.72 million and a total of $60.2 million after five weeks of release. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came in ninth with an estimated $3.65 million, bringing its domestic total to $151.6 million after five weeks of release. And in tenth, Universal’s Green Book boasted another solid hold in tenth place with an estimated $2.78 million, a drop of just 29% from last weekend. While its wide debut was seen as somewhat disappointing, the crowd-pleasing film has held up well in subsequent weeks thanks to solid word-of-mouth. Its total now stands at $24.6 million.
Debuting just outside the Top 10 with $2.6 million was Once Upon a Deadpool, the unorthodox re-release of Deadpool 2 that tones down the foul-mouthed superhero to the tune of a PG-13 rating in an effort to draw in younger viewers. Notably, the re-release comes with a charitable bent, as one dollar from each ticket sold goes to supporting the non-profit Fudge Cancer.
After playing for three weeks in limited release, Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite expanded to 439 theaters and brought in an estimated $2.5 million, good for a per-screen average of $5,854. The Golden Globe-nominated drama now has $6.7 million in the bank and will undoubtedly expand further in the coming weeks.
Expanding to 325 screens following a limited debut last weekend, NEON’s Vox Lux brought in an estimated $244K this weekend for a per-screen average of just $751. The total for the Natalie Portman-starrer now stands at $433K.
The highest per-screen average of the weekend went to Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk, the new film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins that garnered three Golden Globe nominations last week. Opening to an estimated $219K on just four screens, the critically-acclaimed drama boasted a per-screen average of $54,793. It will expand wider in the coming weeks.
Aquaman was the No. 1 film at the global box office again this weekend with an estimated $126.4 million from 43 overseas markets. With an international cume of $261.3 million ahead of its North American release next weekend, the Warner Bros. superhero movie has now brought in a whopping $189.2 million in China, already making it the second highest-grossing Warner Bros. title ever in the country and the fourth highest-grossing superhero movie there.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse took in an estimated $21 million in 44 markets, bringing its global opening haul to $56.4 million. Totals include $3.3 million in South Korea, $2.9 million in the U.K., and $2.3 million in both Russia and Australia.
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch brought in an estimated $23.3 million in 65 territories, including openings of $2.9 million in China and $2.3 million in Japan. That brings its international tally to $133.4 million and its worldwide cume to $372.7 million.
Bohemian Rhapsody brought in an estimated $20 million this weekend in 58 markets, bringing its international cure to $455.5 million and its global tally to $635.9 million. Totals include $61.1 million in South Korea, $58.6 million in the U.K., and $47.2 million in Japan.
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, DEC. 14 – SUN, DEC. 16
|1||Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse||$35,400,000||—||3,813||—||$9,284||$35,400,000||1||Sony / Columbia|
|2||The Mule||$17,210,000||—||2,588||—||$6,650||$17,210,000||1||Warner Bros.|
|3||Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch||$11,580,000||-23%||3,759||-82||$3,081||$239,289,710||6||Universal|
|4||Ralph Breaks the Internet||$9,600,000||-41%||3,575||-220||$2,685||$154,475,878||4||Disney|
|6||Creed II||$5,398,830||-46%||3,107||-645||$1,738||$104,882,976||4||MGM / Warner Bros|
|7||Bohemian Rhapsody||$4,125,000||-33%||2,213||-740||$1,864||$180,423,200||7||20th Century Fox|
|8||Instant Family||$3,720,000||-35%||2,860||-566||$1,301||$60,218,054||5||Paramount Pictures|
|9||Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald||$3,650,000||-48%||2,606||-845||$1,401||$151,653,410||5||Warner Bros.|
|10||Green Book||$2,780,000||-29%||1,215||34||$2,288||$24,660,366||5||Universal Pictures|
|11||Once Upon A Deadpool||$2,600,000||—||1,566||—||$1,660||$3,883,920||1||20th Century Fox|
|12||Widows||$1,200,000||-62%||1,228||-933||$977||$40,815,656||5||20th Century Fox|
|13||Robin Hood||$1,200,000||-66%||1,720||-853||$698||$29,783,833||4||Lionsgate / Summit|
|14||The Possession of Hannah Grace||$1,180,000||-63%||1,307||-991||$903||$13,904,905||3||Sony / Screen Gems|
|1||The Favourite||$2,570,000||71%||439||348||$5,854||$6,739,903||4||Fox Searchlight|
|2||A Star is Born||$1,022,000||-58%||842||-789||$1,214||$199,160,074||11||Warner Bros.|
|3||The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||$545,000||-51%||644||-526||$846||$53,646,799||7||Walt Disney Pictures|
|5||At Eternity’s Gate||$188,000||-41%||178||4||$1,056||$1,446,360||5||CBS Films|
|6||Can You Ever Forgive Me?||$140,000||-45%||166||-99||$843||$7,264,860||9||Fox Searchlight|
|1||Mary Queen of Scots||$700,000||259%||66||62||$10,606||$962,835||2||Focus Features|
|2||If Beale Street Could Talk||$219,173||—||4||—||$54,793||$219,173||1||Annapurna|
|3||Ben Is Back||$145,543||80%||29||25||$5,019||$254,475||2||Roadside Attractions / LD Entertainment / Lionsgate|
|4||The House That Jack Built||$40,436||—||33||—||$1,225||$40,436||3||IFC Films|
|6||Maria By Callas||$28,354||-73%||62||-87||$457||$1,139,545||7||Sony Pictures Classics|
|7||Capernaum||$27,588||—||3||—||$9,196||$27,588||1||Sony Pictures Classics|
|8||The Wife||$21,928||-89%||67||-354||$327||$8,152,924||18||Sony Pictures Classics|
|10||A Private War||$14,000||-42%||50||15||$280||$1,597,875||7||Aviron Pictures|
|13||Becoming Astrid||$3,900||-61%||12||-3||$325||$3,900||4||Music Box Films|