'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Leaps to Top Box Office as 'Mortal Engines' Lacks Steam
Universal Pictures/Sony Pictures
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The Sony animated movie debuts at the domestic chart with approximately $35.4 million, while the sci-fi fantasy movie produced by Peter Jackson barely makes it to the top five with around $7.5 million.

AceShowbiz - Another superhero movie shows its domination in Hollywood before "Aquaman" launches in the U.S. later this week. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" has reigned over the North American box office, swinging its way to the top of the chart with an estimated $35.4 million in its first weekend.

Made for about $90 million, the animated movie centering on Marvel's popular character posts the largest three-day animated opening of all-time in the month of December, besting Universal and Illumination's "Sing" which previously held the record with $35.2 million opening in 2016.

The movie has received love from critics and audiences, with moviegoers giving it a rare A+ on CinemaScore. As a testament to its quality, the film has been nominated for a Golden Globe award for best animated feature in addition to several honors from critics' group, including the New York Film Critics Circle.

"We are playing to both families and fanboys. We're an all-audience film," Adrian Smith, Sony's president of domestic distribution, says of the movie's strength. Internationally, "Spider-Verse" has brought in $21 million from 44 overseas markets.

Clint Eastwood's "The Mule" also has a solid start, landing at No. 2 with an estimated $17.2 million in its opening weekend. The R-rated movie, which cost $50 million to produce, attracted audience which consisted of 54% male and 88% of which were over the age of 25. Warner Bros. is optimistic that it will continue to play well among adult audiences in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, another major new release this week, "Mortal Engines", already runs out of steam in its first week. The movie barely made it to the top five with approximately $7.5 million. Despite Peter Jackson's involvement as producer and co-writer, the sci-fi fantasy movie doesn't fare well among critics and audiences, with only 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- on CinemaScore.

The movie, which is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, performs better overseas, raking in $34.8 million from 54 international territories. Still, the movie which is made of a $100 million budget before marketing is estimated to lose over $100 million.

"This is a true Christmas disaster and a lump of coal for Universal," said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. "They took a big swing, and they struck out." He explains the problem with the movie, "Everybody is having a tough go trying to appeal to that YA marketplace. It's a generation gap between studios and what they think young audiences like. TV is getting it right, and movies aren't."

At No. 3, "The Grinch" loses one spot with additional $11.6 million, continuing its solid performance (dropping only 23%). Last week's champion "Ralph Breaks the Internet" plunges to No. 4 with an estimated $9.6 million.

Top Ten Movies at Weekend Box Office for Dec.14-Dec. 16:

  1. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" - $35.4 million
  2. "The Mule" - $17.2 million
  3. "The Grinch" - $11.6 million
  4. "Ralph Breaks the Internet" - $9.6 million
  5. "Mortal Engines" - $7.5 million
  6. "Creed II" - $5.4 million
  7. "Bohemian Rhapsody" - $4.1 million
  8. "Instant Family" - $3.7 million
  9. "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" - $3.6 million
  10. "Green Book" - $2.8 million

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