Jungle Cruise kept its ship together at the domestic box office over the weekend, and actually saw an uptick in Friday-to-Saturday grosses (when you back out Thursday previews of $2.7M) of +16% which puts the adventure film at $34.2M, an opening that’s not far from Dwayne Johnson’s pre-pandemic event film Rampage ($35.7M), and the biggest family film start during the pandemic to date. All in, add $27.6M in overseas box office and $30M+ in Disney+ Premier global spend and Jungle Cruise counts a first weekend’s worth of revenues of $91.8M. Similar to Black Widow, the bulk of Disney+ Premier spend, I understand, is coming from the U.S. as our market is more accustomed to making purchases on the Disney+ streaming service, while offshore markets are still adopting.
Beamed Disney EVP of theatrical distribution Tony Chambers, “We have delivered the No. 1 family film opening of the year and take great solace in that; one can’t compare the numbers to anything pre-pandemic. With great word of mouth and audience exits, we’ve exceeded our own and industry expectations.” Jungle Cruise was expected to open to $25M domestic; Deadline heard that global theatrical estimates at $65M.
At a time when many might be worried that the delta variant is curbing business, and that families are staying home, Jungle Cruise‘s pure U.S. and Canadian theatrical ticket sales show—once again after Warner Bros.’ Space Jam: A New Legacy’s $31M opening—the demographic is willing to head out. Again, when we see such holds and successes in the face of dynamic windows, the question continually begged is how much more could Jungle Cruise have made this weekend at the domestic B.O. without Disney+ Premier blocking its path? Overall domestic theatrical weekend per Comscore for all movies stands at $76.7M, +9%. The gap between 2021 and 2020’s running comparative U.S./Canada B.O. is now -11% with the current Jan. 1-Aug. 1 period being $1.7 billion.
However, there are those in the industry this morning who are not impressed with Jungle Cruise‘s numbers. Again, blame the global pandemic and dynamic windowing. A $91.8M combined global theatrical and PVOD start are not the ingredients to profit off a tentpole with excellent audience exits which cost an estimated $362M in negative cost, distribution and marketing expenses. But then again, what is truly making money right now in the current global marketplace? At the end of the day, a simultaneous theatrical and PVOD window brings the streaming revenue forward in time. “There’s too much evidence that the model diminishes the aggregate streaming revenue as well as cuts into a movie’s theatrical gross,” one film finance insider tells us this morning.
There are some industry analysts who claim that those sitting on the couch to watch Jungle Cruise were never going to head to the movies anyway, but there is a looming concern out there by the business that the casual moviegoer is showing some doubt about returning to the cinema. There’s no worry about avid moviegoers going out to see movies now.
On the other hand, a sign that the offshore markets still aren’t back for Jungle Cruise: Rampage posted a $114.1M an international B.O. first weekend ($55M came from China then, which wasn’t in the mix for Jungle Cruise; the remaining balance on the giant ape movie debuted to $59.1M). Disney is all about global day-and-date launches which are hampered here because of territory closures and capacity restrictions, which is why the studio continues to argue their Disney+ Premier day-and-date theatrical model. We don’t know yet which future movies on the Disney theatrical slate will commit to the experimental model.
Despite being sued by Scarlett Johansson over crushing the theatrical and PVOD window on Black Widow, Disney will defend that by putting Jungle Cruise on its streaming service for $29.99 (versus $19.99 or lower), they’re trying to put a high price point so that they’re not directly competing with movie theater ticket prices which average around $10-$15 each. Counter that with the fact that a Disney+ Premier purchase for Jungle Cruise is the better bargain for a family of four. Or it costs absolutely nothing at home if the consumer is taking in the Disney pic over a pirated site.
Some have asked me why I’m comping Jungle Cruise to Rampage, a pre-pandemic title: Because in regards to pure domestic box office, we need to see where we are versus normal standards; it’s an indicator of whether we are in a state of recovery or not. Disney and Warner’s current experimenting with dynamic windows only clouds any signs of rebound. Note, it’s not prudent to comp Jungle Cruise to Rampage in weekend 2, the latter fell -44% without any event pic competition mid-April 2018 and Jungle Cruise is apt to lose its premium large format screens to Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad next weekend. With avid moviegoers choosing the premium theatrical experience for tentpoles in their first weekend, and Jungle Cruise doing 25% between Imax and PLF, ticket sales are apt to decrease in weekend 2 without such additions for a movie title.
Meanwhile,Black Widow‘s weekend 4 at the box office is the lowest fourth weekend for a Disney-released Marvel title ever at $6.4M.
But going back to the pic’s theatrical success at least here in the states: Johnson is always a pro in championing his movies, and he kept fans in the loop about starting the recent press tour back on July 15 (see below). In fact, the campaign started way back pre-pandemic at D23 Expo 2019 with Johnson and Blunt arriving onstage in a custom-built La Quila boat and classic car. Marketing reignited in May with a new trailer, poster, and announcement of dual theatrical and Disney+ Premier Access release on July 30, exclusively revealed on Good Morning America. Johnson shared all of this on his social media handles to his huge following.
In the face of a pandemic, Johnson and Blunt bravely appeared at the Disneyland premiere for the film and even took a surprise ride on the Jungle Cruise much to the delight of fans (see below). Social media analytics corp RelishMix reports that that pic’s social media was massive “connecting Disneyland 29.7M into the mix along with Disney Studios 62.2M, Disney+ 11.8M, Disney Channel 21.9M for a total social media universe of 559.8M total which is exceptional in relation to family live-action comps. Superfan channels on YouTube are also reposting cast junkets with a viral repost rate of 23:1 for the five owned trailers which exceeds the norm of 16:1 along with key performance indicators which popped from the Disneyland premiere event last weekend.”
The Rock’s social media pull across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter counts 333.8M which according to RelishMix reps 59% of the entire reach metric for Jungle Cruise along with the action star’s YouTube channel, with 5.6M subs, which dropped trailers including the No. 1 trailer from 17 months ago at 8.3M views. And while Blunt, and stars Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti are non-social, the Rock’s social powers mixed with Jack Whitehall’s 10.2M fans and Edgar Ramirez’s 5.2M fans picked up the slack.
After Focus Features’ Roadrunner, arthouses continued to see the light this weekend thanks to A24’s The Green Knight which opened to $6.784M at 2,790 theaters in the No. 2 spot. That’s a result that’s just ahead of the Oscar-winning distributor’s Midsommar which did $6.56M over the three days of the 2019 Independence Day weekend and was a Wednesday opener. Green Knight played notably in upscale and hipster arthouses, i.e. Alamo Drafthouse had five of the top ten runs, I hear. The movie did well in big cities with cash coming from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, DC, Seattle and Phoenix. A24 hung onto this David Lowery-directed, Dev Patel fantasy film throughout the pandemic, rather than relegate it to a PVOD release, and I’m sure they aren’t sorry. The pic cost under $30M, but I understand a majority of that production cost was covered by foreign sales. The pic is on a 20-day theatrical window.
Relish Mix says that a bulk of Green Knight’s near 45M social media universe before opening weekend came from 41.3M views on five YouTube videos which were re-dated from the pic’s original February 2020 drop of materials. In regards to chatter, “Conversations shout with excitement about the approach that A24 has taken to introduce the pic’s mythology with early calls for Oscars cinematography nominations as fans of Patel and Alicia Vikander await the release.”
The studio dropped a video that clocked 7.4M views on YouTube about the pic’s origins which is the 14th Century epic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Always keen on connecting with Gen-X and millennials, A24 even created a real roleplaying game for Green Knight.
Last weekend’s pure theatrical releases, Universal’s M. Night Shyamalan Old and Paramount’s Snake Eyes took tumbles in their second weekends respectively with -60% and -70%. Old, which posted a drop on par with Shyamalan’s 2006 misfire Lady in the Water, was good enough to take No. 3 (some have it at No. 2) with $6.76M and a ten-day of $30.6M. Snake Eyes at 2,348 theaters made $4M for a ten-day tally of $22.2M. Again the lackluster results here strictly boil down to lack of interest in the IPs, as indicated by both pics’ sour audience exits last weekend.
In 5th place is Focus Features/Participant’s Stillwater which is coming in right where many expected with $5.1M in 5th at 2,531 theaters and 232 DMAs.
“We’re thrilled to see so many parts of the country, like the Midwest and the South, returning to theaters to watch Matt (Damon) in Stillwater. Those audiences came out solidly, which is promising for the weeks to come on the film,” said Focus Features President of Distribution Lisa Bunnell. As we told you yesterday, the movie which is partially set in Stillwater, OK where Damon plays an oil-rig worker, saw five out of its top ten theaters this past weekend coming from Oklahoma which is uncommon for the domestic B.O. Stillwater‘s top theaters over Friday and Saturday were 1.) Warren 14, Oklahoma City ($16k) 2.) the Carmelview, Phoenix ($10,4K) 3.) Broken Arrow, Tulsa ($10,1K), 4.) Tibbs, Indianapolis ($8,3K), 5.) Cinemark 17, Tulsa ($7,5K), 6.) Cal Oaks, LA ($7,2K) 7) Showbiz, Oklahoma City ($7,1K), 8) AMC Stillwater ($7,1K), 9) Estrella Falls, Phoenix ($7K) and 10) Cinemark West Plano ($6,7K).
Top markets for Stillwater included LA and NY with the most runs respectively 127 (7.1% of the B.O.) and 103 cinemas (4.2%). Phoenix, San Francisco, Oklahoma City, and Denver were above their normal market share with Oklahoma City continuing to be the most impressive placing 9th with only 17 runs. Best grossing region for the film was the South. Overall in rank the other top-grossing markets were 3) Dallas (69 theaters, 3.9% of B.O.), 4) Phoenix (43 theaters, 3.3%), 5) San Francisco (56 theaters, 2.5%), 6) Houston (49 theaters, 2.4%), 7) Chicago (69 theaters, 2.4%), 8) Denver (47 theaters, 2.2%), 9) Oklahoma City (17 theaters, 1.9%) and 10) Atlanta (54 theaters, 1.9%).
This weekend’s top 10 chart:
- Jungle Cruise (Dis) 4,310 theaters, Fri $13.378M/Sat $12.2M/Sun $8.5M/3-day $34.2M/Wk 1
- The Green Knight (A24) 2,790 theaters (-25)/Fri $2.878M/Sat $2.17M/Sun $1.7M/3-day $6.78M Wk 1
- Old (Uni) 3,379 theaters (+24), Fri $2.1M (-70%)/Sat $2.65M/Sun $1.99M/3-day $6.76M (-60%)/Total: $30.6M/Wk 2
- Black Widow (Dis) 3,360 theaters (-890)/Fri $1.9M (-46%)/Sat $2.6M/Sun $1.9M/3-day $6.4M (-45%)/Total $167M/Wk 4
- Stillwater (Foc) 2,531 theaters, Fri $1.85M/Sat $1.92M/Sun $1.35M/3-day $5.12M/ Wk 1
- Space Jam 2 (WB) 3,501 (-501) Fri $1.34M (-57%)/Sat $1.67M/Sun $1.26M/3-day $4.265M (-55%)/Total $60.7M/Wk 3
- Snake Eyes (Par) 3,540 (+19) Fri $1.19M/Sat $1.6M/Sun $1.19M/3-day: $4M (-70%)/Total $22.2M/Wk 2
- F9 (Uni) 2,348 (-502) theaters Fri $760K/Sat $1.06M/Sun $830K/3-day: $2.65M (-45%)/Total $168.5M/Wk 6
- Escape Room 2 (Sony) 2,086 (-729) Fri $670K/Sat $860K/Sun $670K 3-day $2.2M (-37%)/Total: $20.55M/Wk 3
- Baby Boss 2 (Uni) 1,865 (-908) theaters Fri $400K/Sat $510K/Sun $390K/3-day $1.3M (-55%)/Total: $53.4M/Wk 5