Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Bringing the Latest in News Straight to Your Screen

‘Jungle Cruise’ Nabs Soft $62M At Worldwide Box Office Along With $30M Via Disney+

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle Cruise opened with a solid (but not spectacular) $34.2 million in its domestic theatrical debut. That’s a stable 2.55x weekend multiplier, and frankly right in line with most of Dwayne Johnson’s “non-Fast and Furious” star vehicles. Think Rampage ($35.7 million) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which nabbed $36.2 million during the Fri-Sun portion of a $72 million Wed-Mon Christmas weekend launch.

Yes, Sony’s Jumanji 2 opened during Christmas and legged out to $404 million domestic. However, even Warner Bros.’ Rampage still crawled past $100 million even alongside WB’s own Ready Player One, Paramount’s A Quiet Place and Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War. Honestly, I’d be more bells and whistles had the Walt Disney adventure not cost around $200 million.

This film was green-lit back before Covid was a thing. Under normal circumstances, I would have expected this mixed-positive-reviewed (63% and 6/10 on Rotten Tomatoes) and well-received (an A- from Cinemascore) star-driven IP cash-in to break out accordingly. I had long pegged this one as Disney’s best shot at a new live-action franchise since National Treasure in 2004 and Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003.

Bob Iger’s reign was more about acquisition (Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox) and explicit nostalgia (those live-action “reimaginings”) than crafting “new” cinematic franchises. It’s sad that we’d have to look at a $200 million, star-driven action comedy based on a Disney theme park ride as almost aspirational, but that’s where we are. With around $62 million worldwide and $30 million in Disney+ revenue (around one million households, and nobody expected Jungle Cruise to pull Black Widow numbers in any capacity), Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise has to be counted as a “successful disappointment.”

I don’t know why Disney felt comfortable spending Dead Man’s Chest-level money ($225 million in 2006 only after Curse of the Black Pearl grossed $650 million on a $130 million budget in 2003) on this proverbial Curse of the Black Pearl. They made this same mistake with The Lone Ranger back in 2013). As such, Covid curve or not, it’s quite possible that Jungle Cruise would have end up a “disappointment in relation to cost” even in non-Covid times.

But now, by default, presuming halfway decent post-debut legs, it’ll probably be one of the biggest movies of the summer. Disney’s few 2021 releases, save for Black Widow, have shown remarkable legs. Ray and the Last Dragon isn’t remotely a hit, but it has earned $55 million domestic from an $8.5 million debut, making it the leggiest wide release of the “pandemic era.”

Cruella has earned $85 million domestic from a $26.5 million Fri-Mon debut, making it one of the leggiest Memorial Day launches in recent memory. Considering Disney has only 20th Century’s Free Guy on tap for August 13. As such, it can make Jungle Cruise a priority right up until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Labor Day.

Moreover, most of what’s left between now and Venom 2 is either kid-unfriendly (The Suicide Squad, Don’t Breathe 2, Reminiscence, Candyman, Malignant, Queenpins, etc.) or parent-unfriendly (Paw Patrol). The only family-friendly competition over the next two months for this latest Disney biggies are other Disney-released biggies. That would be less of an issue if adults still saw grown-up movies in theaters.

Jungle Cruise can at least boast a debut bigger than Space Jam: A New Legacy ($31 million), which itself would have been seen as a massive disaster (partially due to the $150 million budget) in normal times. Is this just about Covid, or is this merely a repeat of 2016?

We saw a lot of very big “once were special” franchise flicks (Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Independence Day: Resurgence, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, etc.) underwhelming or outright tanking due to audience indifference. Suicide Squad “saved the summer” in early August. We’ll see if The Suicide Squad performs likewise next weekend, or ends up another unrequested/once-was-special franchise whiff?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *