WEEKEND MOVIES: A not-necessarily-for-kids cartoon, “Into the Spiderverse,” is set to dominate, will “The Mule” pull its weight?

Good reviews or bad, “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” was sure to own this weekend, as the comic book fanbase is seriously hyped up for this alternate version of the web slinger — which features any number of Spider Women, Spider Noirs and Spider-Hams. And the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. 

I’d been hearing $35-39 million for the opening weekend for this two hour animated film, from Variety and others. It’s already picked up $1.9 million from last weekend’s pre-release release (paid) showings. And it made another $3.5 million Thursday night (I don’t think they add the last weekend total to that.

But Box Office Mojo is saying $40 million is the ceiling, thanks to the hype (I didn’t love it, and will be watching for reports of how wider audiences take its I-say eye-straining action beats and animated focus). 

And the Box Office Guru is guessing $41 million for the wide wide wide release. 

That should suck ALL of the money away from Fox’s PG-13 “Princess Bride” gag re-release of “Deadpool 2.” The Guru says $5 million is all that’s left in the tank for that late spring release. Box Office Mojo is saying it won’t crack the top ten — $3.2 million or so. So sorry Mr. Pool.

Warner Brothers has downplayed its “other” holiday release — a dark Clint Eastwood drug trade thriller, “The Mule,” which has a touch of “Gran Torino” about its foul and racist old man as drug runner story. Oscar winners and Oscar contenders decorate its cast, but they didn’t preview it in much of the country, especially the corners where Clint is King (Flyover States). 

They’re either hiding it because it isn’t great, refusing to promote it at the expense of “A Star is Born” or some hazy version of both. Eastwood himself may have suggested the strategy, as he is now thinking of Bradley Cooper as his Warner Brothers go-to actor/director successor.

In an event, a paucity of reviews greet its opening. 

Saving the worst news for last, “Mortal Engines” finally comes to the big screen, the movie Peter Jackson wanted to make before “The Hobbit” ate up his life. He produced the film of Phillip Reeve’s novel, co-wrote the script and one of his production team — his storyboard artist for years and years — gets the directing credit. Steampunk sci-fi riding indifferent reviews into theaters, both the Guru and Mr. Mojo say $11 million is what this YA pic should earn by midnight Sunday. 

Box Office Mojo says it’ll do a solid $17 million this weekend. Box Office Guru figures $11 million is all he has left in the tank as a leading man. 

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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