The headlines of the holiday box office have belonged to “Aquaman” while “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” have brought in family audiences. But farther down the charts, Clint Eastwood has quietly left his own mark on the Christmas season.
After opening nearly a month ago to a $17.5 million launch, Warner Bros.’ “The Mule” has amassed a domestic total of $82 million against a budget of $50 million, and is on course to reach $100 million by the end of its theatrical run.
As a director, Eastwood has had several major hits this decade, the biggest being 2014’s highest grossing domestic release, “American Sniper.” He also found success with Tom Hanks on the biopic “Sully” in 2016. He’s also had some missteps, namely “The 15:17 to Paris,” which only made $57 million worldwide against a $30 million production budget before marketing.
But “The Mule” is a different movie, because Eastwood is both in front of and behind the camera. It’s an actor-director combo that Eastwood hasn’t done since “Gran Torino” way back in 2008, and his first acting role since “Trouble With the Curve” six years ago. But when Eastwood does appear on the big screen, he can count on a devoted following of fans — mostly boomers — to show up to see him.
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