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

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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.

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