Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Spider-Verse Scores Largest Opening for A December Animated Release

Plus, The Mule delivers a grand Eastwood opening and Mortal Engines flops hard on the weekend of December 14-16.

by | December 16, 2018 | Comments

Surprising as it may be, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — if the estimates hold — just had the best opening ever for an animated film in December. That is in no way meant to be a slight on its quality. After all, we are talking about a film with a 97% on the Tomatometer, a number reached — or surpassed — by only four other films that received a launch in over 3,700 theaters – Paddington 2, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Black Panther. Not bad company as audiences prepare to settle the film in for a nice run through the holiday season.


King of the Crop: Spider-Man Swings to the Top

Sony Pictures Animation
(Photo by Sony Pictures Animation)

Without looking, it would have been easy to assume that some animated title would have a massive opening this month. Most of them tend to get out early before the Thanksgiving holiday, which opened the door for Sing to grab the top spot for an animated film with a $35.2 million back in December of 2016. Now the mantle has been taken by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with a $36 million opening. Films opening between $30-40 million this month have averaged a final haul of $171 million. Sing’s $250 million is a big part of that, as is last year’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which finished with over $400 million. Scott Derrickson’s The Day the Earth Stood Still remake in 2008 is the only one to finish with less than $100 million ($79.3 million, to be precise). Spider-Verse will have some challengers opening this week, but this is still likely to be a top choice over at least one of them in the long run. Only the Hotel Transylvania films have opened better for Sony in their animation department, though if Spider-Verse can best the aforementioned average, it will pass all of them to become their biggest success to date.


Rotten Returns: Mortal Engines Nearly Hits Bottom of Exclusive List

Universal Pictures
(Photo by Universal Pictures)

There is no way around the Mortal Engines numbers. They are abysmal, and we’re not talking about just the 28% it received on the Tomatometer. It has joined the list of bottom five December films opening in 3,000 theaters, a list that now looks like this:

The Nativity Story ($7.8 million), Mortal Engines ($7.5), Collateral Beauty ($7.10 million), Walking with Dinosaurs ($7.09), The Wild Thornberrys ($6.0)

Thanks to the holiday season playing out the way it does, those other films finished between $31 and $40.1 million. Mortal Engines, however, is the most expensive among them, with a budget of $100 million (Walking with Dinosaurs cost $80 million). Suggesting that this is the flop of the year might make for juicy headlines, but it simply is not the case. Mortal Engines could have made two cents this weekend and both A Wrinkle in Time and Solo: A Star Wars Story would have lost more money. It is not even the worst domestic opening vs. its overall production budget. In other words, yes, it is bad and it is a bit embarrassing, but look at the broader picture.

The Peter Jackson production could still be saved with a decent international haul (it has made $19.3 million so far). But it shows the peril of trying to mount an expensive fantasy production in this day and age that did not come from the mind of George Lucas or the pages of comic books. Even adaptations such as John Carter, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Ghost in the Shell failed to generate enough interest with American audiences. Universal has also had their issues over the years (including 1995’s Waterworld) with failed attempts at Robin Hood (2010) & Peter Pan (2003), but also more recently with 47 Ronin, Cowboys & Aliens, The Great Wall, and their attempts at reimagining or rebooting their classic monster series (Van Helsing, The Wolfman, and The Mummy). Universal has had an otherwise solid year with big hits like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Halloween, and Fifty Shades Freed (see a pattern?), but they are likely preparing Mortal Engines to join Pacific Rim Uprising and Skyscraper in the red column for 2018.


The Top 10 and Beyond: Eastwood Has One of His Best Draws; Aquaman Gets a Head Start

Claire Folger/Warner Bros.
(Photo by Claire Folger/Warner Bros.)

Clint Eastwood is in front of the camera for the first time since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve this weekend, and despite Warner Bros. almost going out of their way not to campaign the film for awards and keep it from critics as long as possible, it still managed to squeak by with a score of 63%. The $17.2 million opening for The Mule (63%) is actually Eastwood’s third best of any movie he’s starred in. Space Cowboys opened to $18 million in 2000 and Gran Torino, after four weeks of playing in less than 100 screens, exploded to a $29.4 million weekend in January 2009. Since 1990, 23 films have opened in December between $16-20 million and ten of them reached $100 million (four of which were R-rated Best Picture nominees, including Jerry Maguire, The Green Mile, and The Wolf of Wall Street). We will know better next week whether it can come close to the $90.6 million average final gross of those 23 films or even join Gran Torino, In the Line of Fire, Unforgiven, and Million Dollar Baby as Clint’s $100 million star vehicles.

Meanwhile, Illumination’s The Grinch continues to forge a path to over $270 million with the smallest drop in the Top Ten (23%); Ralph Breaks the Internet has officially fallen behind it on the chart. Disney’s sequel has nearly an identical haul to Bohemian Rhapsody in its first 26 days, and it should still have enough in the tank to at least match the original’s $189 million gross. That Queen movie, though, remains the WOW of the holiday box office with nearly $609 million worldwide. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is not far behind with $575 million, though both are likely to be eclipsed by Mary Poppins Returns and Aquaman, which has already grossed over $263 million internationally.

The PG-13 alternate cut of Deadpool 2, Once Upon a Deadpool, has grossed $3.8 million since it opened on Wednesday. Fox nearly made as much this weekend with The Favourite (just $30,000 less than Deadpool) and its total is up to $6.7 million after expanding into 439 theaters. Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk is opening to $219,174 in just four theaters. Its $54,794 per-theater average is the fifth best of 2018 after Suspiria ($92,019), Eighth Grade ($65.949), Isle of Dogs ($60,011), and Avengers: Infinity War ($57,599)


This Time Last Year: Everybody Went to See The Last Jedi

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi had the second largest opening weekend of all-time with $220 million. It became the sixth highest-grossing film of all time. (It is now 8th thanks to Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War this year.) Fox’s animated Ferdinand was a very decent second with $13.4 million while Coco was passing the $150 million mark. The remainder of the top ten grossed a grand total of $47.1 million, but thanks to the power of the Force, last year’s haul beat this weekend’s take $267.1 million to $102.8 million. With five films at over 90% on the Tomatometer, last year’s Top Ten averaged 74.4% while this year’s is currently averaging 65%.


On the vine: Mary Poppins and Aquaman Hoping to Lead Holiday Box Office

Warner Bros.
(Photo by Warner Bros.)

A busy week is descending upon your local theater. Mary Poppins Returns heads into theaters on Wednesday; it may lose the battle for the weekend when Aquaman opens two days later, but could ultimately win the war for the top spot at the holiday box office. Transformers prequel/reboot/more-family-friendly adventure Bumblebee could end up being the most liked film in the series by critics but the least successful one to boot. Jennifer Lopez returns on screen for the first time since 2015 in Second Act, and Universal is taking a somewhat limited approach to Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen with Steve Carell, based on the true-life inspiration of the documentary, Marwencol. Also on Monday, look for Peter Jackson’s WWII documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old.


The Full Top 10: December 14-16

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – $35.4 million ($35.4 million total)
  2. The Mule – $17.2 million ($17.2 million total)
  3. The Grinch – $11.5 million ($239.2 million total)
  4. Ralph Breaks the Internet – $9.5 million ($154.4 million total)
  5. Mortal Engines – $7.5 million ($7.5 million total)
  6. Creed II – $5.3 million ($104.8 million total)
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody – $4.1 million ($180.4 million total)
  8. Instant Family – $3.7 million ($60.2 million total)
  9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – $3.6 million ($151.6 million total)
  10. Green Book – $2.7 million ($24.6 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Tag Cloud

zombie robots hispanic Captain marvel blockbuster USA game of thrones Star Wars Classic Film hist animated Academy Awards psychological thriller Hallmark Christmas movies Spring TV Walt Disney Pictures adventure sag awards spain FOX Apple TV+ ABC Sneak Peek Funimation cats romance Calendar green book IFC Films Trailer romantic comedy Ovation cancelled book Amazon Amazon Studios Quiz Turner Britbox TruTV war Lionsgate The CW ABC Family Black Mirror latino Writers Guild of America Logo ratings social media scary movies Action casting Horror CBS Apple batman Apple TV Plus blaxploitation comiccon Baby Yoda halloween NBC 2020 Spike A24 ESPN Stephen King E! Disney streaming service Nickelodeon SundanceTV Rom-Com USA Network cops free movies Hulu MSNBC television Music crossover Disney Channel 45 OWN spider-man PBS Sundance TV Warner Bros. BET Universal Comedy Central Nat Geo The Walking Dead 71st Emmy Awards Best and Worst vampires Grammys Teen TCA Winter 2020 festivals Rocketman Watching Series History Holidays 2017 teaser Crunchyroll sports joker Martial Arts DC streaming service Shudder miniseries Discovery Channel period drama dogs TBS Year in Review singing competition zero dark thirty CW Seed christmas movies VICE Superheroe Interview sequel FX on Hulu President The Purge DC Universe Binge Guide Podcast unscripted Election anime Mary Tyler Moore golden globes First Look Masterpiece Amazon Prime Holiday Mystery Thanksgiving spinoff BBC America TV renewals independent Arrowverse discovery APB Paramount Network Crackle Musical stand-up comedy toy story WarnerMedia Emmys Heroines CNN cults Tomatazos Emmy Nominations boxoffice 21st Century Fox FXX disaster Western 007 doctor who Musicals Hallmark YA canceled First Reviews Mary poppins YouTube documentary Paramount finale comics Fantasy werewolf DirecTV Avengers Esquire YouTube Premium based on movie YouTube Red 2015 Winners TLC dceu GLAAD SXSW OneApp movie Netflix New York Comic Con RT21 historical drama Fall TV Marvel ghosts National Geographic Opinion jamie lee curtis richard e. Grant Lifetime Christmas movies Pet Sematary Lucasfilm name the review San Diego Comic-Con sitcom Certified Fresh E3 rotten movies we love Dark Horse Comics Spectrum Originals Super Bowl See It Skip It PaleyFest versus adaptation canceled TV shows travel TCA politics GIFs Netflix Christmas movies docudrama Mary Poppins Returns NYCC Oscars 20th Century Fox Tumblr BBC Extras IFC crime thriller RT History MCU composers elevated horror Sundance Now technology Family police drama directors Biopics TCM Elton John El Rey streaming Pirates GoT TIFF Comedy Kids & Family The Arrangement Chernobyl Awards foreign Cosplay quibi MTV Schedule FX Tubi Box Office Film aliens X-Men crime drama psycho Fox News Summer TV Drama zombies Pop Tarantino indie space Toys Rocky talk show Set visit Red Carpet Peacock game show 24 frames Bravo Infographic Pixar Mudbound Food Network Mindy Kaling American Society of Cinematographers Sundance Character Guide Syfy crime Film Festival Chilling Adventures of Sabrina medical drama anthology Pride Month Cannes Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt transformers diversity Reality Nominations The Witch WGN binge Awards Tour cinemax franchise Travel Channel TNT Acorn TV Reality Competition Winter TV Comics on TV south america VH1 LGBTQ Marvel Studios reboot Lifetime Polls and Games cooking political drama renewed TV shows Sci-Fi TCA 2017 Countdown A&E strong female leads harry potter Amazon Prime Video Black History Month Rock justice league AMC SDCC Animation Marathons Adult Swim Shondaland Endgame children's TV breaking bad Photos mockumentary Superheroes Women's History Month Star Trek Premiere Dates Marvel Television 2018 what to watch cancelled TV shows facebook true crime theme song Brie Larson Television Academy nature screen actors guild Anna Paquin Valentine's Day screenings tv talk Ellie Kemper Comic Book thriller Christmas DC Comics kids cartoon comic natural history Disney+ Disney Plus Epix supernatural universal monsters Pop TV Ghostbusters mutant Starz serial killer reviews revenge movies spanish language Columbia Pictures Freeform dragons slashers cancelled TV series dramedy Creative Arts Emmys cars Trophy Talk spy thriller LGBT Sony Pictures TV Land witnail Vudu Cartoon Network Turner Classic Movies biography CBS All Access series CMT cancelled television video Showtime science fiction Disney Plus Trivia DGA 2016 ITV Song of Ice and Fire dc award winner Video Games HBO Max 2019 Country Disney HBO