“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” flew to an impressive $3.5 million at 3,321 North American locations on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, MRC-Universal Pictures’ “Mortal Engines” grossed $675,000 in previews from 2,600 theaters. “The Mule” did not hold previews on Thursday.
Sony’s animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which expands to 3,813 sites on Friday, should handily win the weekend’s box office. The studio has been forecasting $30 million at 3,813 North American venues, while rivals contend that early buzz could lift its start to north of $39 million. The movie carries a $90 million budget.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is Sony’s seventh movie about Marvel’s webslinger. The new iteration spotlights Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), a half-Puerto Rican and half-African-American teenager from Brooklyn who is bitten by a genetically modified spider. He develops spider-like abilities and begins discovering an alternative universe where more than one Spider-Man exists.
The “Spider-Verse” voice cast includes Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, and John Mulaney. The film received a Golden Globe nomination for best animated feature and boasts an impressive 98% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Spider-Verse” is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, and written by Phil Lord and Rothman from a story by Lord based on the Marvel comics. Sony has already announced development of a sequel and spinoffs set in the shared multiverse.
The six “Spider-Man” movies have generated $4.9 billion worldwide. Last year’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” starring Tom Holland, hauled $880 million globally and a sequel will bow next year.
The openings of Universal’s “Mortal Engines” and Warner Bros.’ “The Mule” are going to battle for second place with forecasts in the $10 million to $15 million range. The launches are taking place a few days after the 2018 North American box office — which racked up records in February, April, June, and October — topped the $11 billion mark.
“This is the weekend that the 2018 holiday movie season starts in earnest. And with three high-profile, wide-release titles set to jump-start the marketplace after a rather fallow period over the past two weeks, a year that has been consistently running at record pace and hit $11 billion in record time will rev up for a huge final push that should deliver the biggest box office year in history,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “However, comparisons to the same weekend a year ago will be extraordinarily tough thanks to one of the biggest overall weekends of 2017 when ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ opened with an otherworldly $220 million.”
“Mortal Engines” is a dystopian science-fiction story from “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson. It’s set in a world where motorized cities prey on each other. It’s opening at 3,103 North American sites and holds a 30% average on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie has already begun its rollout in 43 international territories, including Korea, Russia, and Australia, where it’s earned $20.1 million.
Warner Bros. is opening “The Mule” at 2,588 venues. Clint Eastwood’s latest undertaking follows a nonagenarian who gets caught smuggling cocaine for the cartel. Reviews have been mixed, earning the film a 64% Rotten Tomatoes score.