‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ To Swing In With $50m, While ‘Mortal Engines’ Can’t Get Started: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

After two barren weekends without a major cinematic release, the theatrical cobwebs and tumbleweed will be brushed aside as three new films bring an end to the post-Thanksgiving void, and usher in the Christmas period.

Finally.

Kicking off the weekend is ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, Sony’s latest foray into the world of Marvel’s most beloved hero after releasing the spinoff ‘Venom’ back in October. The film sees teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) taking up the ‘Spider-Man’ mantle, after teaming up with multiple parallel-universe Spider-Men to defeat crime lord Wilson Fisk.

Its all-star cast, featuring the voices of Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, and Lily Tomlin among many others, is only bolstered by an equally strong team behind the scenes, with Lord & Miller producing, and the latter getting a co-writing credit.

The quality in production has apparently shone through to the final product; its near-perfect 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, A+ on Cinemascore, and 87 on Metacritic means it’s one of the best-reviewed superhero films in modern memory, perfect fuel for a great Box Office lift-off.

We’re optimistically forecasting a gross just below $50m from Friday to Sunday, considering the recent slew of family-friendly animations (and superhero movies) that have already quenched the thirsts of the general audience. It’s an opening that falls just behind another Lord & Miller production ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ from 2017, which made $53m in its first 3 days, on its way to earning $175.8m domestically.

Next is Clint Eastwood’s second film of the year after February’s ’15:17 to Paris’ – ‘The Mule’. Eastwood directs and stars as Earl Stone, an elderly drug trafficker (based on the true story of World War 2 veteran Leo Sharp). The film also sees Bradley Cooper as DEA Agent Colin Bates, alongside Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Taissa Farmiga, and Andy García.

This R-rated crime flick has the better of ’15:17’ when it comes to critical reception, but this makes little difference for the $50m production, which looks to open at around $14m$1.5m more than ’15:17’. ‘The Mule’, it seems, will need to keep delivering the goods in coming weeks, or else get caught by the chasing pack.

What’s a Box Office weekend without a big budget flop? First-time director Christian Rivers teams up with Peter Jackson (‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’) to deliver ‘Mortal Engines’, Universal’s steampunk dystopian based off of Phillip Reeve’s 2001 novel of the same name.

Fears of a ‘Robin Hood’-like failure are warranted, given its bloated $100m+ budget and poor response from both critics and audiences (28% on RT, B- on Cinemascore). Therefore, we’re predicting a start of $10.6m, meaning ‘Mortal Engines’ has already stalled upon release.

Finally, Oscar-hopeful ‘The Favorite’, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, looks to beat out ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ and ‘Green Book’ for a place in the top ten. Still in a limited release, playing in just 423 cinemas, the historical period-piece, starring Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, should earn $3.4m for 10th place.

The Box Office is back in full swing this weekend, with ‘Spider-Man’ leading the way. Will it hit the lofty $50m heights we predict, or will it just fall short? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Reel Women: December UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’ve got a couple of Netflix releases, some foreign language films, and the latest offering from the Transformers franchise. There’s plenty to tide you over this holiday season.

 

7 December

Dumplin’
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: Kristin Hahn

Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ (Danielle Macdonald) is the plus-size daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston) who signs up to her mum’s pageant as a protest. But soon things escalate as others follow in her footsteps.

Anne Fletcher is an actress, producer and director. Dumplin’ is her seventh film and some of her previous films include The Proposal (2009) and Step Up (2006). Kristen Hahn is a director, writer and producer, Dumplin’ is her second produced screenplay.

 

Tulip Fever
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Written by: Deborah Moggach and Tom Stoppard

An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.

Deborah Moggach is a film and television screenwriter and wrote the novel Tulip Fever is based on. In 2006 her adapted screenplay of Pride & Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA

 

Mug
Directed by: Malgorzata Szumowska
Written by: Michal Englert and Malgorzata Szumowska

When Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) undergoes a face transplant, he suffers identity issues as he struggles to find his place again in the tight knit community he’s from.

Mug is Malgorzata Szumowska’s seventh feature film and at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival it was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear and won the Jury Grand Prix. Szumowska has won 25 awards and has another 30 nominations to her name.

 

Theatre of War
Written & Directed by: Lola Arias

A documentary that reveals the personal stories of both British and Argentinean former soldiers whose lives were deeply affected by the Falklands war.

Theatre of War is Arias’s first film.

 

8 December

Mortal Engines
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson

Set in a dystopian future where all cities are constantly moving across the Earth on wheels, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) fights for revenge for her mother’s murder.

Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have collaborated with Peter Jackson previously on King Kong (2005), the Hobbit trilogy, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They both won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

 

12 December

Out of Many, One
Directed by John Hoffman and Nanfu Wang

Documentary about immigration has become a divisive issue in the United States.

Nanfu Wang is a director, editor, cinematographer and producer.

 

14 December

Free Solo
Directed by: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A documentary about Alex Honnold, the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall.

Free Solo is Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s sixth feature-length documentary. Her previous film Incorruptible (2015) is currently on Netflix.

 

21 December

Bird Box
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Written by: Eric Heisserer

After a mysterious event leaves the world in fear, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her two children must travel through a forest blindfolded in order to survive.

Susanne Bier has over 20 directing credits to her name and she’s also a writer and producer. In 2016 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special for her work on The Night Manager.

 

24 December

Bumblebee
Directed by: Travis Knight
Written by: Christina Hodson

Set in the 1980’s, a teenage girl finds and befriends Bumblebee, an alien robot from another planet.

Bumblebee is Christina Hodson’s third produced screenplay. Her next screenplay is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).


That’s nine films made by women released this month – three of them are on Netflix. As always, we’d love to hear what you think of any of these films if you get the chance to see them. We’ll see you next year as we continue to shine a spotlight on female filmmakers.

LFF 2018: They Shall Not Grow Old

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Written by Sarah Buddery

Back in 2001, director Peter Jackson made huge technological advancements with his groundbreaking fantasy trilogy Lord of the Rings. Similarly, his latest film, WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, breaks new ground from a technical aspect, albeit with a very different subject matter.

Fusing previously unseen archive footage from the Imperial War Museum, and interviews recorded by the BBC and IWM, Jackson has lovingly restored and colourised footage of the Great War to present a vivid, immersive and enthralling documentary, unlike anything you will have seen before.

Marking the centenary of the end of the conflict, this film is also a personal passion project for Jackson, dedicated to the memory of his Grandfather, one of the many who perished during World War I. Narrated by the real voices of those who fought in the war, and through technological wizardry, the flickering black and white images are presented in vivid yet grim technicolour to give an honest and unflinching take on life in the trenches. Working with lip-readers, Jackson has also provided voice and sound to the silent footage, and the result is simply breathtaking.

Beyond its unquestionable achievements in film and technology, They Shall Not Grow Old succeeds in bringing to life the stories which run the risk of being forgotten. The ghostly apparitions of the soldiers on screen, the narration of those who lived through it, and the grisly tales of lice, rats, trench foot and death combine to present a “warts and all” telling of history. This film feels important, yet has no sense of self-importance or condescension. The soldier’s accounts are honest, surprising in many ways, and there is the hope that this film will be viewed for many years to come so that their memory lives on.

The film feels vast in scope, yet also candid and intimate. It covers wide ground right from the outbreak of war, recruitment and training, through to Armistice Day, yet it also maintains the deeply personal stories and accounts from the real people who lived through it. It certainly doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war as well and there are some grisly images expertly juxtaposed with the smiling faces of the soldiers. The effect is undeniably harrowing.

Perhaps one of the most harrowing moments occurs towards the end, however, and it is when the soldiers describe what it was like to return home. Many felt relief, but few felt victorious, and indeed the majority felt that their life no longer had purpose now the war was over. It is a sobering and sombre moment and its moments like this that might just change your perspective as the war is remembered going forward.

They Shall Not Grow Old is a triumph of documentary filmmaking, an entirely unique experience and a fitting tribute to the men who served; both the ones who returned and the ones who sadly did not. In the words of the poem by Robert Laurence Binyon from which the film takes its title, “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”.

Sarah’s Verdict:

5

It’s A Game Of Survival In A Brand New ‘Mortal Engines’ Trailer

“Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.”

Directed by: Christian Rivers

Cast: Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Frankie Adams, Stephen Lang

Release Date: December 14th, 2018

It’s Survival Of The Fastest In Brand New Trailer For ‘Mortal Engines’

“Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.”

Directed by: Christian Rivers

Cast: Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Frankie Adams, Stephen Lang

Release Date: December 14th, 2018

 

Epic First Trailer For Peter Jackon’s New Saga ‘Mortal Engines’

“Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.’

Directed By: Christian Rivers

Cast: Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Lang, Joel Tobeck

Release Date: 14th December 2018

 

JUMPCUT’s Favourites: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Year: 2001
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Dominic Monaghan

Written by Jo Craig

As a restless ten-year-old, shuffling around the toy section at Woolworths had become an unspoken talent among youngsters, able to sail from aisle to aisle while barely glancing at the shelves and somehow gather that there were no new gadgets to impress. That was until an oval, green box with a black, hooded figure inside caught my eye, and I stopped and asked my Aunt who tolerated my shuffling, “What’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’?”

Remembering that introduction vividly, as well as my super-cool Mum letting me skip school on December 19th, 2001 to view a true spectacle that was ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’, becoming one of the first films I recall being deliriously giddy at the faint mention of it. Combined with two sequels, ‘The Two Towers’ and ‘The Return of the King’, Peter Jackson’s vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s written masterpiece has stood the test of time against modern, CGI enthused films and was the first motion picture that ignited my burning love for the movies.

In summary, ‘Fellowship’ acquaints us with fearless Hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the most beloved TLOTR character Sam (Sean Astin), embarking on their journey to destroy the one ring and its ruler, the Dark Lord Sauron (Sala Baker). Travelling across Middle-Earth through villages, elven realms, mines and mountains, Frodo, Sam and their selected eight companions, fellow Hobbits Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan), Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Boromir (Sean Bean) (not forgetting Bill the trusted steed), combine their efforts as “The Fellowship of the Ring” and battle the evil that stands in their way.  

As a kid, ‘TFOTR’ was made unique by my failure to recognise the cast as actors, as I was still ignorant towards the concept of “acting”. This misconception insisted each role was the real deal, and that movies were some sort of a found footage experience where in some parallel universe Elves, Men and Orcs really were at war. Ah, to be young again. Viggo Mortensen who played my treasured Aragorn has now become a favoured actor who I admire in alternative roles but his portrayal of Strider, the Ranger of the North remains undefeated. With a tremendous amount of production piled into all three movies, ‘Fellowship’ relies on prosthetics and set pieces with a modest amount of CGI to construct its magical world, creating a more intimate experience that the sequels lost to grandeur. The beautiful score (that embarrassingly became my homework music), scenery and props all contributed to an eagerness to explore the outdoors and make flimsy weapons out of deformed sticks and tin foil.

The amount of graft and ingenuity that went into creating Middle-Earth and its inhabitants, winning four Oscars (seventeen for the entire trilogy) for Original Score, Makeup, Cinematography and Visual Effects, has a great deal to say about ‘The Hobbit’; a prequel trilogy that only won the Sci-Fi Tech Award and to this day makes a sixteen-year-old adventure look a thousand “po-ta-toes” better. Each component that brought TLOTR into visual existence created wonder throughout my late childhood and instilled a nostalgic release that triggered every time that tin whistle sang out The Shire theme.

Although the trilogy as a whole is phenomenal, ‘Fellowship’ will always remain my preferred instalment as it showcased film on a scale the world had never seen before, inviting us into a fantasy we were desperate to see more of and of course, the horseback Ringwraiths were badass. A film I could replay and recite until the end of my days and still manage to catch an extra cameo of Peter Jackson, ‘TFOTR’ will remain my ‘go-to’ movie of a lifetime that paved the way for my aspiring career and invoked a passion for exquisite cinema that I am forever grateful for.