The virtual reality fantasy released with a healthy $53 million at the North American box office and picked up an additional $128 million overseas, bringing its global total to $181.2 million. That was enough to land the director of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Jurassic Park” his biggest debut since “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” launched in 2008 with $100 million.
As for his last popcorn movie that wasn’t already part of a multi-million dollar franchise? That would be another novel-turned-big screen event, 2005’s “War of the Worlds,” which premiered with $64 million. That alien invasion flick got a boost from Tom Cruise’s star power (though his Oprah couch jumping did lead to some unwelcome pre-release publicity).
Recent projects have highlighted a different side of Spielberg, with the Oscar-winning filmmaker devoting much of his energy to historical dramas geared toward adults, such as “The Post,” “Lincoln,” and “War Horse.” And while his movies aren’t breaking records like they once did with “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” and “E.T.,” as of now, Spielberg seems to be in good shape after a couple of embarrassing box office bombs.
Spielberg’s last few big-budget films, both targeted at family auds — 2016’s “The BFG” and 2011’s “The Adventures of Tintin” — didn’t land with moviegoers, but analysts point to “Ready Player One” as a reaffirmation of the commercial credentials of…
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