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If We All Love Into the Spider-Verse Why Isn’t It Doing Better at the Box Office?

Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is one of the best Spider-Man movies to hit the silver screen. I’d argue that it just edges out the others to be the best and easily makes most people’s top 5. It has been topping critics’ best-of-superhero movie lists for 2018, beating the likes of Black Panther and Infinity War.

Into the Spider-Verse has received overwhelmingly positive praise for the story, animation, and characters, currently sitting on a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 97% for critics and 94% for audiences, higher than any other Spider-Man movie. Yet it has been trailing behind Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee in box office receipts for the past few weeks.

This is not to say that Into The Spider-Verse is a failure—it has made $213,748,730 worldwide against a $90 million budget. Still, since Aquaman came out, despite mixed reviews, every other movie has been overpowered by the sheer weight of its charisma and curiosity about what the hell an Aquaman movie looks like. What is being questioned is Into the Spider-Verse‘s ability to last, especially when compared to what is probably the biggest animated movie this year: Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.

The Grinch

(Illumination/Universal Pictures)

Yes, The Grinch, which was released in early November 2018, debuted at $67.6 million, finishing first at the box office. It managed to be the number two film after Fantastic Beasts 2: Crimes of Continuity. It dropped slightly in its third week, but spent its fourth and fifth weeks back at number two. As of today, it is still in the top ten films, at number ten.

What happened this December was a huge oversaturation of films that a lot of people from different demographics would want to see and not enough time to go see it. Not to mention it is just really damn expensive to see movies these days, unless you have some kind of movie subscription that makes it slightly more affordable. In my circle of friends, most saw Into the Spider-Verse much later because there was just so much to see, and while a lot of people took their kids to see Into the Spider-Verse, there isn’t the same fever or marketing around it like other movies.

I’ve seen the film twice because there is just so much to absorb, from all the animation Easter Eggs to just taking a second look to see if there were things I missed the first time. Still, we need to keep in mind that this is the second Spider-Man related universe movie to come out this year alongside with Venom, the third in two years, and Miles wasn’t the only Spider-Man to be in a big box office movie, since Infinity War featured Peter Parker in the biggest tear-jerker of the year. There is also the issue of promotion for Spider-Verse. I know here there were tons of ads in New York City, but in other places, it seemed like the movie came out of nowhere.

There is a lot of Spider-Man content out there, and even though Spider-Verse is featuring a different Spider-Man lead with Miles Morales, the fact that it’s animated will no doubt turn off some. Even if the movie is excellent, some people just look down on animated movies. Plus there is still this mentality in some spaces of the internet that it matters that “their Spider-Man is Peter Parker” even though that’s not the point. Living in New York and in a bubble of inhaling superhero content for hours each day, it’s surreal for me to understand how The Grinch has made so much money when I only know one human who sat down in an actual theater to see it.

We live in an oversaturated era of movies and a short window of time to consume it all before it goes away. If you like smaller more independent films that window is even smaller. As good as Spider-Verse is, and despite its easily lead and impressive numbers, it says something that the movie people are calling among the best of the year couldn’t maintain its number one spot.

How do you rank Into The Spider-Verse and do you think it could have done better at a different time?

(image: Sony)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.