“Mortal Engines” is a Box Office Failure, but “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a Huge Hit

While the dystopian #SciFi film #MortalEngines was a box office failure on its opening weekend (earning disastrous $7.5 million domestically), the animated “#SpiderMan: Into the Spider-Verse” earned the largest December animated opening with $35.4 million at the box office. Also, while “Mortal Engines” earned more outside of the U.S., its total box office take for opening weekend globally was only $42 million. This is a far cry from the film’s budget of $100 million, which is now what its estimated loss is going to be.

“This is a true Christmas disaster and a lump of coal for Universal,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “They took a big swing, and they struck out.”

The question is, why did “Mortal Engines” do so poorly? In spite of the fact that the CGI spectacle was co-written and co-produced by Peter Jackson (who directed all of the highly successful #LordOfTheRings and #Hobbit films), the film earned a very poor 27% Tomatometer score by film critics from #RottenTomatoes, and audience ratings were equally poor at 58%. Audience ratings on IMDb are also rather mediocre at 6.5.

“Mortal Engines” has been a marketing challenge for its distributor, Universal, and it’s based on author Philip Reeve’s book series that’s not that widely known in the U.S. With the exception of Hugo Weaving, the movie lacks any major movie stars and has a plot that’s difficult to convey in a television spot or a poster. “Mortal Engines” focuses on “predator cities,” which are mobile urban centers on wheels that roam around the planet preying on smaller cities, robbing them of resources in order to sustain themselves. This hard-to-comprehend plot was one reason several studios (including Warner Bros. and Fox) passed on the project.

On the flip side, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is the 13th time this year that a film based on a Marvel property has been top at the box office. The critically-acclaimed animated film received a 97% Tomatometer score from film critics on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an audience rating of 95%. Similarly, the film has a rating of 8.8 on IMDb.

Mortal Engines Spider-Man


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