Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has landed a release date in China, with early box office tracking projecting a sturdy opening for the animated movie. In addition to being the first animated Spider-Man feature film, Into the Spider-Verse marks the big screen debut for Miles Morales - a Puerto Rican/African American character who wears the mask in the Ultimate Marvel comic book continuity. It's also the first theatrical release to feature the Spider-Gwen version of the Gwen Stacy character, as well as lesser-known webheads like Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker aka. SP//dr, and even Peter Porker aka. Spider-Ham.
The film brings these various Spider-People come together to battle the villainous Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber), after he creates a super-collider that threatens to destabilize and maybe even destroy the many different realities of the Spider-Verse. Early buzz around the movie (based on its marketing) is very positive and reactions to the Into the Spider-Verse footage screened at NYCC 2018 last month were similarly enthusiastic. Though the film isn't expected to match the opening weekends for the live-action Spider-Man movies before it, Into the Spider-Verse will get a boost from the China marketplace, as far as its worldwide box office gross is concerned.
Deadline is reporting that Into the Spider-Verse will open in Chinese theaters next month on Friday, December 21, which is exactly one week after the film debuts in U.S. theaters. The site is also hearing (from box office analysts and trackers) that Into the Spider-Verse is headed towards a U.S. opening weekend haul of $30-40 million at the moment. That number is far higher than the current opening weekend projections for the other two wide releases that weekend (Clint Eastwood's crime drama The Mule and Peter Jackson's post-apocalyptic adventure Mortal Engines), but also a big drop-off from Spider-Man: Homecoming's $117 million opening haul back in July 2017 and even Venom's $80 million take from just last month.
Of course, Into the Spider-Verse doesn't have a connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to fall back on, unlike Homecoming. Moreover, the animated Spider-Man film definitely cost less to make than Homecoming (which had a $175 million production budget) and there's far less pressure on it to break the bank, as a result. Into the Spider-Verse's actual box office opening take could likewise end up exceeding the current projections, especially if the critical reception winds up being as supportive as expected. Its run at the Chinese box office will further help the film to turn a tidy profit for Sony; as evidenced by Venom's $205.3 million gross in the country to date, that's a lucrative marketplace for superhero entertainment, especially of the Spider-Man variety.
Into the Spider-Verse also has the advantage of being a family-friendly tentpole that's opening in theaters just ahead of the winter holiday moviegoing season. The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle both became massive commercial successes playing to families over last year's end of year holiday frame and it's not difficult to envision Sony's animated Spider-Man movie following in their footsteps. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will have competition from films like the DCEU adventure Aquaman and Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, but with no Star Wars movie opening in December (for the first time in four years) there will be all the more room for multiple films to thrive at the box office.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018