11:28am PT by Pamela McClintock
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Tracking for $28M-$35M U.S. Debut
Sony's animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse should easily spin its way to No. 1 in its domestic box-office launch over the Dec. 14-16 weekend, while the Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines may have trouble getting rolling, according to early tracking.
The duo open nationwide alongside Clint Eastwood's The Mule. Mid-December isn't necessarily known for big openings, and the three films are hoping for a long burn throughout the holidays, although the marquee will get very crowded as Christmas draws closer.
Into the Spider-Verse, produced by Philip Lord and Christopher Miller, the pair behind the acclaimed The Lego Movie, is on course to open between $28 million and $35 million, according to projections from the major Hollywood tracking services. (Sony is thinking along the lines of $30 million.) Early projections could climb higher as the studio makes its final marketing push.
The PG film, revealing a shared universe where there can be more than one Spider-Man, and introducing Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as the wallcrawler, hopes to draw fanboys and kids alike. Spider-Verse is a combination of CG and hand-drawn animation.
The producers, which also include Amy Pascal, have also noted that Spider-Verse is unique for featuring a superhero who is half-Puerto Rican and half-African-American.
Unfurling nationwide opposite Spider-Verse are the Jackson-produced Mortal Engines and Eastwood's The Mule.
Mortal Engines, a big-budget, postapocalyptic steampunk thriller directed by Christian Rivers from an adapted script by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, is tracking to open in the $12 million-$18 million range. Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery star in the Universal movie. (Media Rights Capital, one of the producers, is owned by Hollywood Reporter parent company Valence Media.)
Eastwood directs and stars in The Mule, which is tracking to debut to $12 million to $15 million. The crime drama marks the first time Eastwood has appeared onscreen since 2012's Trouble With the Curve. He stars alongside Dianne Wiest, Michael Pena, Andy Garcia, Laurence Fishburne, Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga and Ignacio Serricchio. Bradley Cooper has a small role.
The Mule tells the story of Earl Stone (Eastwood), a man in his 80s who is broke, alone and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. What he discovers is that he has just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. Stone does the job so well that his cargo increases exponentially, and he is assigned a handler.