After starting its run through the overseas box office last weekend with $31.7M, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book unleashes in North America this weekend at the same time it bows in other big markets such as China, the U.K., Brazil, Germany, France, Spain and Mexico. In other words, Disney’s live-action/CGI family treat is expected to dominate globally and should inject some much-needed life into the U.S. box office this weekend. A one-two punch of The Jungle Book and fellow opener Barbershop: The Next Cut could raise the overall box office take by 50%
Industry estimates are that the extremely well-reviewed Jungle Book — it’s 100% on Rotten Tomatoes — will take in around $67M to $75M in its three-day weekend, but its estimates have been steadily climbing and, given the brand and the strong reviews, it’s certainly capable of going higher. The Jungle Book will launch in Thursday night previews starting at 7 PM. The budget for this one is said to be $175M (not counting marketing costs).
Little Mowgli also is grabbing Imax space away from the superheroes this weekend, with 376 screens planned for The Jungle Book in the U.S. and (so far) 456 overseas. The film will be playing on 281 of those screens in China. Last weekend, Jungle Book opened on 69 Imax screens overseas. The film will also be on 463 PFL screens in the states.
The film is also entering the marketplace at a time when the wind has fallen out of the capes of Batman v Superman domestically. That fan film should fall down the domestic Top Ten chart this weekend. Both BvS and last weekend’s Melissa McCarthy opener The Boss (which only garnered a C+ CinemaScore from its core audience) should fall about 50% to 55% in their next three-day gross.
The comp Disney is using for The Jungle Book is Cinderella, but this one will bring in the boys, too. Cinderella opened to $67.8M domestically a year ago in March, and ended its run at $201M.
In the same number of markets overseas this past weekend, the adventure film already is performing better — 99% higher — than Cinderella. (The film was playing in just 15 Asian and Latin American markets to gross that $31.7M, landing it at No. 2 for the session and nearly tugging on Superman‘s offshore cape.)
Also on deck this weekend is Barbershop: The Next Cut, which also is expected to open well. Tracking for this MGM/New Line/Warner Bros pic shows that it might bring in a three-day in the high-$20Ms and could flirt with $30M. The third installment of the comedy comes 12 years after the previous film, but this one has some new faces includingCommon, Regina Hall and Nicki Minaj.
Early reviews are positive so far, and Ice Cube — who has been promoting the film heavily on social media — has been hotter than hot as of late.
Both previous Barbershop pics opened in the area of $20M-$24M and went on to pocket $65.9M and $75M domestically. The domestic audience for Barbershop: The Next Cut is of prime importance as the last two garnered 98% of its worldwide box office here in the states. All three were PG-13. This one is opening early on Thursday at 5 PM.
The third movie that will bow this weekend is Criminal, starring a rugged, buzzcut Kevin Costner in a story about a death row inmate who is enlisted to stop an international conspiracy. The estimates are that the Lionsgate/Millennium Films pic will end up pretty much where films starring Costner usually play; the actor consistently delivers openings in the $12M to low-teen range, but we are hearing lower on this one, maybe around $9M. His Three Days to Kill opened to $12.2M in February 2014 and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit delivered $15.4M (also two years ago). We are hearing good word-of-mouth about this R-rated film, which also stars Ryan Reynolds. One of the comps being tossed around by the industry is London Has Fallen, which opened to $21.6M last month, but no one is expected that high of a gross on this one. It starts previews at 7 PM Thursday.
Back to The Jungle Book, which certainly will be king of the box office jungle this weekend. Internationally, Disney execs should feel confident going into the second weekend overseas with audiences understood to be reacting in much the same way as critics. In China, particularly, materials that are getting pushed out on social media are seeing encouraging pickup.
Disney is coming off of a record Zootopia run in the Middle Kingdom, which bodes well for a film that puts animals front and center. Add to that the awareness of the origins story and, importantly, the extra accomplishment of world creation, which has almost universal appreciation. The theatricality of the experience also will be bolstered by 3D and PLF this weekend. Although The Jungle Book has less of a holiday play than comps such as Maleficent, Oz: The Great and Powerful or Cinderella, it’s worth noting their numbers in the same suite of markets as TJB is launching this weekend. At today’s rates, Maleficent cast a $77.7M spell in her offshore debut, Cinderella waltzed onstage with $62M, and Oz conjured $42.4M.
Sticking with Cinderella for a moment, that film opened in 31 offshore territories in March 2015, including a day-and-date release in China that grossed $25M. It ultimately tallied $72M there and $342M all told overseas. Again, that film skewed to the female audience and this one also appeals to boys.