Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level opens early in 18 overseas markets this week, beginning today in France and including Netherlands, some of South East Asia and, notably, China, through Friday. This is a different rollout pattern to 2017’s reboot, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, which went day-and-date with domestic in 53 offshore markets, landing No. 1 in 28 of those for a $49.5M bow at historical rates.
In the like-for-like markets going this week, Welcome To The Jungle did $54.8M at today’s international box office rates. Industry projections for The Next Level are coming in at the $60M+ mark. About $40M of that is expected in China where star Dwayne Johnson has a solid base. His last pictures in the Middle Kingdom have done robust business including Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw ($201M), Rampage ($156.3M), San Andreas ($103M) and Skyscraper ($98.4M).
Ultimately, the top hubs for Welcome To The Jungle last time around were China, the UK, Australia, France and Russia. The movie played to a high multiple, continuing to beat the drum for weeks until its offshore final of $557.6M and $962.1M global (at historic rates). When a movie has that kind of play-through, the follow-up is typically poised to open bigger. But we are cautioned that while family tracking internationally is strong on The Next Level, competition in the releasing markets includes the holdover Frozen 2 factor. If this Jumanji takes a cue from the last, it should continue to be game-on over the holiday season. (This weekend will also see preview in the UK and Russia, but won’t count against the opening.)
This has been a hard year so far for sequels, but with little advance here, it’s difficult to gauge critical and audience response to date. There are a couple of caveats on this launch weekend, including in France where a general strike has been called for Thursday, and thus is likely to impact business in the metropoles — early showings today in Paris, which are not always indicative of the weekend, came in below a local title. There’s also extreme weather in parts of SE Asia.
The Next Level will make most of its money this weekend in China where it was recently moved up from December 13 to December 6. It will go up against local pics The Wild Goose Lake, which premiered in Cannes earlier this year, and action title The Whistleblower. It also debuts opposite Brad Pitt-starrer Ad Astra which is not expected to see broad play. The following week welcomes the release of Downton Abbey and Akshay Kumar-starrer Gold before Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker moves into the market on December 20 in a day-and-date bow.
The previous Jumanji swung into China after its release elsewhere, landing in mid-January and worked as counterprogramming to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, just as it did in other markets throughout the holiday session. There is a school of thought that China is packing this year end with marquee Hollywood pics (as well as its own local movies) to help boost overall growth by 10% for 2019 which has been a softish year. The first Jake Kasdan-directed Jumanji made $78M in the Middle Kingdom, repping 14% of its overseas total.
Along with Johnson, stars of The Next Level are Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain and Madison Iseman, with Danny Glover and Danny DeVito.
The film kickstarted its global publicity tour in late November in style, with a Latin America/Australasian media event in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cast and filmmakers were in attendance. Cabo was also the setting for the cast to join tailor-made, film-branded interactions with popular international social influencers.
The cast also took part from Cabo in a dedicated press day for key Chinese media and social influencers. Cabo further served as the launch pad to deliver daily/bi-weekly Jumanji-branded content leading up to the release, including the “Wedding Crashers” video of Johnson and DeVito as surprise guests at a wedding held at the same Cabo venue; and the “A Very Jumanji Thanksgiving” digital short with the cast, including a Nick Jonas cut-out, joining together for a traditional (and dysfunctional) holiday dinner.
The gang was also on a three-city European tour with local premieres in Paris, Berlin and London including a trip to Graham Norton’s couch in the UK and a photo op with FC Bayern’s Niklas Süle, among other stops.
Again directed by Kasdan, Jumanji: The Next Level is written by Kasdan & Jeff Pinkner & Scott Rosenberg, based on the book Jumanji by Chris VanAllsburg. Producers are Matt Tolmach, Jake Kasdan, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia.
Executive Producers are David Householter, Melvin Mar, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, William Teitler, Ted Field and Mike Weber.