‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ breaks records, ‘Mortal Engines’ sputters

Marvel’s wall-crawling, web-slinging superhero Spider-Man reigned supreme over the weekend, with Sony’s animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse setting a few records on the way to a $35.4 million debut.

The big opening weekend for Into the Spider-Verse, which introduces various versions of spider-inspired heroes from multiple dimensions and has teenager Miles Morales inheriting the mantle of Spider-Man in his own world, earned high praise from professional critics and general audiences — including a rare “A+” grade from the latter. The film also set a new box-office record for animated features released in December, narrowly passing 2016’s Sing, which had a $35.2 million opening weekend.

It was an easy win for Into the Spider-Verse, which reportedly cost $90 million to make, and the film will likely need that early boost to compete over the long run with several big films hitting theaters in the coming weeks.

# Title  Weekend    U.S. Total 
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  $35.4M $35.4M
2. The Mule $17.2M $17.2M
3. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch $11.5M $239.2M
4. Ralph Breaks the Internet  $9.5M $154.4M
5. Mortal Engines  $7.5M $7.5M
6. Creed II $5.3M $104.8M
7. Bohemian Rhapsody $4.1M $180.4M
8. Instant Family $3.7M $60.2M
9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald  $3.6M $151.6M
10. Green Book $2.7M $24.6M

Two more new releases cracked the weekend’s top ten films, with Clint Eastwood’s crime drama The Mule coming in second with a $17.2 million debut. That’s not too bad for a movie that cost $50 million to make, and the film received mixed reviews from critics — currently 62-percent positive — but audiences seemed to like it, giving it an “A-” grade. Eastwood directs and stars in the film, which casts him as a cash-strapped senior who finds himself running drugs for a Mexican cartel.

Less positive was the outlook for Mortal Engines, the post-apocalyptic adventure produced and co-written by Peter Jackson, which brought in just $7.5 million for its first weekend in theaters. Adapted from the Philip Reeve novel of the same name, Mortal Engines reportedly cost more than $100 million to make, and after receiving just 28-percent positive reviews from critics and a “B-” grade from audiences, the film is looking to be one of the year’s final major flops at the box office.

This week’s top ten films will have some tough competition in theaters during the final weeks of the year, with Bumblebee and Aquaman both premiering over the next few weeks, among other films.

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