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"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" tops North American box office in opening weekend

Sony's superhero film "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" sprinted to the top of North American box office with an estimated 35.4 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend, scoring the best December opening ever for an animated film.

Based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales, the film is directed by the trio of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman. The plot follows teen Morales in a universe where more than one Spider-Man exists. Inspired by Spider-Man's sacrifice, Morales becomes one of many Spider-Men and must team up with the others to save New York City from a supervillain, the Kingpin.

The family action-adventure film, costing a reported 90 million dollars to make, received positive reviews from moviegoers and critics with a "A+" on CinemaScore and a 97 percent certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In second place, Warner Bros.' crime film "The Mule," directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, opened with an estimated 17.21 million dollars this weekend, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.

Based on The New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule," the film is inspired by the true story of a veteran in his 400s who became a drug dealer and courier for a Mexican cartel.

Universal and Illumination Entertainment's holiday tale "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" came in third in its sixth weekend with an estimated 11.58 million dollars, pushing its North American total to 239.29 million dollars for a global cume of 372.7 million dollars.

Based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book with the title "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," the animated remake is the third screen adaptation of the story. Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, the film features the voice of English actor Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch. The plot follows the Grinch as he plans to ruin Christmas holiday in Whoville by stealing all the town's decorations and gifts.

Disney's animated comedy film "Ralph Breaks the Internet" landed in fourth place with an estimated 9.58 million dollars in its fourth weekend for a North American total of 154.5 million dollars.

The film is the sequel to the 2012's "Wreck-It Ralph." Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, the plot follows video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz who navigate the vast and dynamic world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope's game, Sugar Rush.

Also opening this weekend is Universal's "Mortal Engines." The science fiction film landed in fifth with an estimated 7.5 million dollars in its debut. Based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve and directed by Christian Rivers, the film follows a mysterious young woman who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where entire cities have been mounted on wheels and motorised, and prey on one another.

"A solid weekend that boasts three new wide release openers will as expected come up against incredibly tough comparisons to the comparable weekend a year ago when 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' hit the multiplex at light speed with an insane 220 million dollars debut," wrote movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian at Comscore in an email to Xinhua.

"That said, the Year to Date (YTD) box office revenue for 2018 has this weekend already surpassed the 11.1 billion dollars total year revenue of 2017 as we head toward a potential 2018 new full year record," he added.