Sony’s sequel Jumanji: The Next Level is looking to file a $40M+ opening when the PG-13 family pic hits theaters on Dec. 13. Moviegoing typically doesn’t explode until after Christmas Day, which falls on a Wednesday this year; the Star Wars pics being the exception to that marketplace rule. Hence, the projections this morning might appear a little damp.
Back in 2017, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle went in the immediate wake of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opening on a Wednesday and playing straight into Christmas Day, with a FSS of $36.1M, a 5-day of $52.8M and 6-day including Dec. 25 of $71.9M. The pic off its FSS figure did a whopping 11x multiple. This time, it’s boldly going before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which opens on Dec 20. Jungle proved to be strong counter-programming in the wake of a giant, thanks to its hysterical concept of mixed up avatars in the the wrong bodies, and the confidence is that leg-out magic can occur again with the holiday play period arguably lasting all the way to MLK weekend. Exhibitors held Jungle in wide release (north of 1K theaters) for an amazing 14 weekends versus Last Jedi which only lasted eight weekends above that level. Jungle director Jake Kasdan returns with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan with Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina along for the ride.
Here’s what’s interesting, the diagnostics on Jumanji: The Next Level are higher than Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, which opened on a similar date, Dec. 14 last year, to $35.3M, and did a 5.4x for a $190.2M domestic final. Unaided is higher on Jumanji: The Next Level by 8 points next to Spider-Verse and First Choice by 10 points which indicates that Next Level could possibly do $50M. Sony sees $35M.
Also hitting tracking today was Universal/Blumhouse’s Black Christmas which is seeing $10M-$12M, the under 25 young adult segment being its prime audience for this R-rated pic. In unaided awareness, the pic looks like Blumhouse’s Ma and Truth or Dare. Horror is tough to track during the holiday season as well. Sophia Takal directs Imogen Poots and Cary Elwes in a story about a group of young sorority pledges who are stalked by a stranger during Christmas break.
Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood directed drama Richard Jewell about the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics who found the bomb, and then was accused of planting it, is seeing $8M-$12M. Adults are hard to get out due to holiday distractions, so again, like all awards season bait, the hope is that reviews will keep business flowing for this pic. Richard Jewell had its world premiere at AFI last night and wowed reviewers at a majority of the rival trades, particularly with Paul Walter Hauser’s star making turn as Jewell. Last year, Eastwood had the crime drama thriller The Mule, which also opened on Dec. 14, however that posted a $17.5M 3-day and played to $103.8M. The difference this time around is that Richard Jewell doesn’t star Eastwood. Mule repped Eastwood’s return to being on-screen after a six-year hiatus as an actor.
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