Mortal Engines: Sci-Fi, Produced by Peter Jackson Bombs

Universal’s sci-fi Mortal Engines launched in fifth place with a disastrous $7.5 million when it debuted in 3,103 venues.

It ranks among the year’s biggest flops, considering that it cost over $100 million to make.

The post-apocalyptic adventure has fared slightly better overseas, picking up $34.8 million from 54 international territories, but Rival studios estimate it could lose over $100 million.

Peter Jackson produced the CGI spectacle, adapted from Philip Reeve’s YA novel. The middling reviews haven’t helped build momentum, and it carries a paltry 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’ll be an uphill battle for “Mortal Engines” to break through a crowded holiday frame and attract the kind of audience it needs to justify its expensive price tag.

“Spider-Verse,” based on Sony’s catalog of Marvel heroes, is resonating with a slightly older audience than most animated adventures. It also has plenty of time to make up ground during a holiday frame, though Warner.  “Aquaman” might cannibalize a bit of the superhero crowd.
Despite an influx of superhero titles that hit multiplexes this year, not to mention 2016’s Peter Parker feature “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and its sequel that bows next year, “Spider-Verse” was lauded for bringing a fresh take to the genre. It uses a mix of CGI and hand-drawn animation to bring the web-slinger to life.

“It pushes the boundaries of animation,” said Adrian Smith, Sony’s president of domestic distribution. “It plays to all audiences, and it’s really exciting because we’re positioned to play into the biggest week of the year — and there are eight days until we get to Christmas.”

 

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