Weekend Forecast: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,’ ‘The Mule,’ & ‘Mortal Engines’

After a slow start to December that allowed holdovers to carry the market, theaters will welcome a handful of new releases and expansions this weekend.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Opening Weekend Range: $30 – 45 million

PROS:

  • Spider-Man remains one of the most reliable and popular comic book properties of all time.
  • Wildly positive reviews (the film sits at 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes currently) are driving even more enthusiasm for this unique animated take on the franchise.
  • As the first high-profile title to hit theaters since Thanksgiving, the combination of minimal competition and all-ages appeal should drive healthy family business. Awareness and interest have been increasingly positive.
  • Some pre-release tracking metrics have approached the levels of Hotel Transylvania 3 and The LEGO Batman Movie.

CONS:

  • Some immediacy is diminished by the fact that this is unrelated to Sony’s live-action Spidey films, part of the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, and represents the character’s fourth film to release in just over six years.
  • With Christmas less than two weeks away, strong holding power in the weeks ahead is more likely than a big debut typically expected of superhero properties as some families may wait to check out the film until their holiday vacation officially begins. Existing competition from The Grinch and Ralph Breaks the Internet, while not at their peak, remains a factor as well.

The Mule
Opening Weekend Range: $13 – 18 million

PROS:

  • Clint Eastwood still carries significant pull with older audiences, and his first performance since 2011 should attract those fans with a film that seems squarely in his wheelhouse. The added star power of Bradley Cooper doesn’t hurt, either.
  • There’s far less wide release competition for the age 50+ audience this holiday season than there is for younger crowds, giving this an opportunity to counter-program in a significant way.

CONS:

  • Pre-release tracking has slightly outpaced that of Widows and 15:17 to Paris, although the road ahead is more encouraging with holiday crowds in play for the back half of the month.

Mortal Engines
Opening Weekend Range: $8 – 13 million

PROS:

  • The source novels’ fan base will be the driving force here, while opening in premium screens this weekend will give it an added revenue boost.
  • Marketing has played up producer Peter Jackson and director Christian Rivers’ Lord of the Rings connection.

CONS:

  • Unfortunately, the young adult adaptation phase has simmered in a big way in recent years.
  • Tracking metrics are only a few ticks ahead of last summer’s The Darkest Minds.

Other Notes

  • Once Upon a Deadpool released in 1,566 locations on Wednesday, but expectations are modest for the unique re-release.
  • The Favourite expands into limited release at an estimated 550 locations this weekend, making it a contender to reach the top ten.

Top 10 vs. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten will earn approximately $105 million. That would mark a 61 percent decline from the same weekend last year when a small independent movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi scored the second biggest (at the time) debut in history with a $220 million opening as part of an overall $267.2 million top ten market.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, December 16 % Change from Last Wknd
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Sony / Columbia $36,000,000 $36,000,000 NEW
The Mule Warner Bros. $17,000,000 $17,000,000 NEW
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Universal $10,900,000 $238,800,000 -28%
Ralph Breaks the Internet Disney $10,000,000 $155,200,000 -38%
Mortal Engines Universal $9,600,000 $9,600,000 NEW

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.

Contact us for information about subscribing to Boxoffice.com’s suite of forecasting and data services.

Shawn Robbins

13 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Multiplex37 December 12, 2018

    All the reviews I’ve seen for The Mule say it’s…funny? I mean…what the hell is this movie? This is not at all what the trailer suggests. Clint just looks confused all the time. I assumed it was all about elder abuse. I just don’t understand why it was marketed like this. But…Big Mem is on board. Hot take: The Mule runs a cool 20 this weekend!

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Delle December 12, 2018

    I think you’re lowballing the opening weekend for Into The Spider-Verse, so we’ll see how it plays out.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Greg December 13, 2018

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi was NOT a small independent release!!! It was a direct-to-video sequel to The Hallmark Channel’s “Twinkle Lights and Sugar Cookies” that caught a break when “Miss Kiet’s Children” was scaled back from its originally-planned 4200 screens to just 2. GET YOU’RE FACTS CORRECTLY!!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      TTVOMJ December 13, 2018

      Yeah ! … and pass the balony :/

      Reply
    • Avatar
      RussVB December 13, 2018

      I think I would have enjoyed that movie more than The Last Jedi that I saw.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        manofbronze December 13, 2018

        So much hate for a movie that was great. toxic fandom at its finest.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          RussVB December 13, 2018

          Yeah I know, to misquote the great Hank Hill
          ” I can only hate a movie if everyone’s white (& male)”.

          Reply
          • Avatar
            Ed December 14, 2018

            I will say no

        • Avatar
          Jacen December 13, 2018

          In fairness to the SW incel-trolls, only 10 percent of the viewers of TLJ hated it, with another 20 percent being Russian trolls and/or bots. I’m pretty sure that 10 percent number also were the vocal haters of the prequels, and there was probably a like number that hated ESB and RotJ when those films were new. The difference is that back then, the only outlet for their rage was Starlog or maybe Omni, and those publications didn’t bother publishing reader mail that was so toxic.

          Reply
          • Avatar
            Jacen December 13, 2018

            Correction: 10 percent for the real trolls, and only 10 percent (not 20) for the Russians troll-bots, meaning 80 percent of those that saw TLJ liked it.

          • Avatar
            RussVB December 14, 2018

            TLJ worldwide gross $1,332,539,889
            6 months later
            Solo worldwide gross $392,924,807

            You can certainly choose to believe that audience opinion of the former didn’t affect the latter. You may be correct.
            I choose to think differently.
            (I’ll stop “trolling” now. It is wildly off-topic after all)

          • Avatar
            Jacen December 15, 2018

            RussVB, to your post below, I have posted elsewhere that the final gross for TLJ is consistent with the drop-offs from film to film (Ep4 to 45, 1 to 2, and Jurassic Worlds 1 to 2 for example). There were a number of factors that did in Solo, but “disgust” at TLJ was not one of them. Come back in early 2020 when Ep 9’s grosses are being examined. That film will never be able to scale Force Awakens’ gross, but it will most likely be equal to or higher that TLJ’s–just like what happened with Ep6 and Ep3.

  4. Avatar
    Paul December 13, 2018

    I don’t think you could release Spider-verse at a worse time. Aquaman is what everybody is talking about here. It comes out less than a week later. You’re going to be splitting the audience. It’s only recently started to climb the moviemeter. And it’s animated. People are not used to seeing animated marvel movies. I think the people that go see it will love it, but people will choose Aquaman first.

    Reply

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