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 for 2019, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
A sequel was certainly in order for this Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart-Jack Black-Karen Gillan ensemble adventure comedy especially after the 2017 reboot cleared close to a $1 billion at the global box office as counterprogramming to then year-end monolith Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, this time around, rather than launch Jumanji in the wake of a Star Wars movie and into the Christmas stretch, Sony opened The Next Level before Star War: The Rise of Skywalker hit marquees on Dec. 13 (in U.S./Canada). It was a risky proposition given that year-end holiday moviegoing doesn’t kick in until Christmas day and beyond, but families, repping 35% did show up stateside, with a largely equal draw among all men and women over and under the age of 25 in addition to diverse audiences repping 51% of Next Level‘s business. Sony rolled Next Level out around the world over the course of two weekends, opening in China first on Dec. 6 and 18 other territories. But grosses in China weren’t as vibrant as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle due to word of mouth, with a final gross there of $41.1M versus the first movie’s $78M. This despite the fact that Sony and director Jake Kasdan upped the stakes here in the body-swapping comedy, and with more stars including Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. The sequel’s domestic 3-day opening of $59.2M repped the best December debut for Sony, as well as for Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Kasdan. Even though the domestic box office was lower than the previous movie, $316.8M to $404.5M, Next Level played quite strong in wide release (north of 1,000 theaters) for 13 weeks straight from the pic’s opening weekend until early March, just before cinemas closed out of safety for COVID-19 (compare this to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which only played wide in north of 1,000 for eight weeks straight).
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Participations here on Next Level are less than Jungle‘s, $60M to $90M and that’s because this sequel made less than Welcome to the Jungle, $796.6M WW to $962.1M WW. The stars soaked up the bulk of those participations. Johnson reportedly received $23.5M upfront here (which would be included in the pic’s $125M production cost, a +39% jump over Welcome to the Jungle‘s $90M budget before P&A). We hear that most of the main actors received 8% of profit after cash breakeven, which is standard for Sony deals, but Johnson got closer to his 20%. Global revenues were robust at $658M (this compared to Johnson’s Hobbs & Shaw at $538M) against all global costs of $422M which yields a $236M net profit, -23% from Welcome to the Jungle‘s net profit of $305.7M.