Peter Jackson's new fantasy adventure Mortal Engines is expected to fail at the box office, according to Variety.

With a production budget just over US$100 million (NZ$147m) and marketing costs in the tens of millions, the publication says the film could lose up to US$100 million, citing estimates from executives at rival studios.

Some reportedly project the loss could even rise to more than US$125 million.

Read more:
Wellywood's power trio return with Mortal Engines
Why Peter Jackson 'couldn't enjoy' watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Mortal Engines, produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Christian Rivers, has so far made a global total of US$42 million. It took a measly US$7.5 million on its opening weekend in the US.


"This is a true Christmas disaster and a lump of coal for Universal," Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations, told Variety. "They took a big swing, and they struck out."

The film opened against Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Clint Eastwood's The Mule.

Variety says Mortal Engines has proved a marketing challenge for Universal, its distributor; the film is based on a series of novels by Philip Reeve which are not well known in the US.

The cast features largely unknown actors and reviews have been mixed, with the film receiving a 28 per cent core on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mortal Engines was shot in Wellington and stars Hugo Weaving and Hera Hilmar.