Fans were more than eager to enter the Spider-Verse, driving Sony’s first animated superhero flick, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ to #1 with a $35.4 million haul. The reviews were stellar– 97% on Rotten Tomatoes– and perhaps more importantly, audiences love it, giving it an A+ through CinemaScore and five stars via PostTrak.
Speaking of audiences, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is playing more like a live-action superhero movie than a traditional family flick. 67% of audiences were non-families, with men over 25 making up 41% of viewers. There was some hope that this movie would spark interest in Spider-Gwen with young girls, but among those under the age of 12, 70% were boys, versus 30% girls. Online activity for ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ is double that of a typical family movie, but slightly lower than that of the average live action comic book movie, which sounds about right for a movie that doesn’t fit squarely into either category.
According to social monitoring service RelishMix:
“Fans are excited for this unique look on the comic book creation with its multiple universe storyline. Others are stoked not only by the unique animation look, but also by the Afro-Latino hero at the center of the story… For those who have seen early screenings, they’re saying the film reviews and super-positive buzz are all real, and audiences should stay until the end of the credits.”
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the Peter Jackson-produced ‘Mortal Engines’ may wind up as this year’s biggest flop. This sci-fi epic, based on Philip Reeve’s novels, cost about $110M to produce and took in $7.5M. Already, number crunchers are saying that once advertising and promotion are added in, ‘Mortal Engines’ could lose $105M, and that’s generous. There is a stronger suspicion that it will actually bleed out closer to $150M.
To put it into perspective, this opening is MUCH worse than the domestic openings of two other notorious Legendary Pictures flops, ‘The Great Wall‘ and ‘Warcraft‘, which both opened in the double digits. As far as non-Legendary sci-fi flicks, ‘Mortal Engines’ also opened worse than ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets‘ and ‘Jupiter Ascending‘.
Critics hate it, with it sitting at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences were also disappointed, only giving it a B- CinemaScore. On social media, RelishMix reports, “Moviegoers are unimpressed with Mortal Engines… They claim that the movie ‘borrows’ some plot lines, outright steals others and has very little originality when it comes to plot and character development.”
Falling between ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ and ‘Mortal Engines’, performing remarkably well was Clint Eastwood’s drama ‘The Mule’. As one would imagine, more than half of the audience is over 50 and it performed best in the mid-west and south. Critics gave it average scores– 64% on Rotten Tomatoes– but audiences seem to like it more, giving it an A- CinemaScore and four stars on PostTrak. Even though the RT score is just so-so, there is buzz that Eastwood, who starred, directed and produced, could earn some nominations during the upcoming awards season.
Overall, nearly every movie came in a tad shy of predictions. (Some thought that ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ would break $40M.) The blame is being placed squarely on the holidays. Students are occupied with finals and the end of the semester. If others aren’t out shopping, they’re attending parties or family functions, without the time to head to the multiplex.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (Sony) – $35.4M
- The Mule (Warner Bros./Bron Studio) – $17.2M
- The Grinch (Universal/Illuminations) – $12.4M
- Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney) – $9.6M
- Mortal Engines (Universal/Media Rights Capital) $7.5M
It does not look as though 20th Century Fox’s experiment of watering down ‘Deadpool 2’ into the PG-13 ‘Once Upon a Deadpool‘ worked. It only took in $2.3M. From the start, it seemed naïve to think that the film’s original R rating actually prevented those that wanted to see it from doing so. At any rate, this is just a limited release running through Christmas Eve, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity, so it’s kind of just gravy.
Next weekend– Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Disney is hitting audiences with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, but can the magic nanny take on ripped superhero ‘Aquaman’ from Warner Brothers? Or will both get stomped by ‘Bumblebee’? Place your bets and check back to find out who comes out on top.