Mule, The: Eastwood, 88, Viable as Director and Actor

At 88, Clint Eastwood is in top form–as a director and as an actor!

Eastwood’s new film, The Mule, is a major commercial success, earning $61.1 million in its first three weekends at the U.S. box office.

The film should cross the $100 million mark in a week or so.

The film is holding at No. 5, and it’s besting newer studio offerings, such as the Sony comedy Holmes & Watson and the all-star Dick Cheney biopic, Vice.

Mature viewers have turned out to see The Mule, a dramedy skillfully directed by and starring the prolific filmmaker.

The Mule has already surpassed the entire lifetime gross of the last film Eastwood starred in, Trouble With the Curve, which topped out at $35.8 million domestically in 2012, not adjusted for inflation.

Box-office experts expect that The Mule will get to $90 million in North America, and possibly $100 million.

Eastwood didn’t direct Trouble With the Curve, and he shared top billing with Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams in that film.

In The Mule, he’s the sole lead, playing the part of Earl Stone, a cantankerous, closed-minded senior citizen who becomes a drug runner for a Mexican cartel.  He appears in almost every scene of the film.

Eastwood’s last sole leading role was in Gran Torino in 2008, which he also directed. In that film, he  played a cantankerous senior citizen irked by a changing world.  By the end of both movies, the two characters soften, reconcile with their opponents, and even find redemption.

Gran Torino earned $148 million domestically and $121.9 million internationally for a global total of $270 million against a modest $33 million production budget.

Costing $50 million to make before marketing, The Mule will begin rolling out overseas in 2019. Eastwood has an avid fanbase in France, where Gran Torino did its biggest business ($27.9 million).

Eastwood also directed the 2018 film, The 15:17 to Paris, which topped out at a modest $36.3 million domestically and $57.1 million worldwide.

His last turn as a director before that was Sully, the 2016 drama starring Tom Hanks as the real-life U.S. Airways pilot who landed his jet in the Hudson.

Sully grossed $125 million domestically and $115.7 million overseas for a global total of $240.8 million.

American Sniper, released in late 2014, grossed a rousing $350.1 million domestically and $197.3 million overseas for a total $547.4 million, the top showing for Eastwood as a director.

Bradley Cooper, the star of American Sniper, plays a small but crucial role in The Mule.