Box Office Preview: 'Spider-Verse' to Swing Past 'Mortal Engines,' 'Mule' With $35M-Plus

Courtesy of Sony Pictures; Warner Bros. Entertainment; Universal Pictures and MRC
From left: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,' 'The Mule,' 'Mortal Engines'

Barry Jenkins' 'If Beale Street Could Talk' will also open at the specialty box office.

A trio of films will kick off the year-end holiday season this weekend, with Sony's animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse set to deliver the biggest present with a debut in the $35 million range.

The critically acclaimed film is produced by Philip Lord and Christopher Miller, the pair behind the The Lego Movie. 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 pic's 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. The movie cost $90 million to produce before marketing.

Meanwhile, The Mule, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, is tracking to debut with $15 million to $20 million. The crime drama, which marks the first time Eastwood has appeared onscreen since 2012's Trouble With the Curve, also stars 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 the 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.

The prospects for the Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines are grim. The big-budget film, which cost Universal and MRC Capital at least $100 million to produce, is tracking to debut in the $10 million to $17 million range. Overseas, it has collected roughly $20 million so far.

Mortal Engines is a post-apocalyptic steampunk thriller directed by Christian Rivers from an adapted script by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery star.

MRC is a division of Valence Media, which also owns The Hollywood Reporter.

Elsewhere, Fox will release Once Upon a Deadpool for a one-week run. The Ryan Reynolds starrer is a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2.

New offerings at the specialty box office will include awards hopeful If Beale Street Could Talk, directed by Barry Jenkins; the Nadine Labaki drama Capernaum; and Lars von Trier's The House That Jack Built.