When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
We are getting closer to finding out 2016’s most profitable film, and not surprisingly, here comes another one from Disney. Jungle Book is based on the public domain Rudyard Kipling tales stamped with the Disney brand with the 1967 classic animated musical. Written by Justin Marks and directed by Jon Favreau, the new film combined technological wizardry to tell the story of Mowgli and his inevitable confrontation with the tiger Shere Khan. Studio made a discovery in Neel Sethi for Mowgli, but enlisted Idris Elba for the deliciously menacing voice of the tiger, and Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken and the late Garry Shandling to round out the voice cast. Once again, Disney accomplished several things beyond making another wildly popular film. It staved off a challenge from Warner Bros, which had Andy Serkis direct a rival film; and it harnessed technology that brought to life animals and will be used by the studio and Favreau to mount a live-action version of The Lion King, this one with the Elton John songs. Let’s see how the numbers work out.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
The film opened to a $103 million domestic gross last April 15, and strong reviews and word of mouth propelled it to a final domestic gross of $364 million, with $452 million overseas and a solid $150 million in China. That got it to $966 million. It cost $175 million, which seems to be the going rate these days for a big global swing by Disney. There were $50 million in Participations, Residuals and Off-The-Tops, and you can bet Favreau was well paid in this endeavor, as well he should have been. The picture won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, and there will be a sequel, even though Favreau put it down to jump right into The Lion King, which has the potential to be as big or bigger than any of the Disney live-action adaptations of its animated classics. The bottom line: Disney’s total costs were $460 million, and the realized and projected revenues are $718 million. That leaves Disney with a net profit of $258 million, and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.56.