Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
April 16, 2016

Soft kitty, warm kitty...

Disney’s decision to create live action adaptations of several of their animated classics once again paid dividends this weekend. The Jungle Book, the latest instant classic from director Jon Favreau, started the weekend with a dazzling $32.4 million, including $4.2 million from Thursday previews. Stating the obvious, The Jungle Book is a huge blockbuster that will dominate the weekend. It’s also poised for an extended theatrical run. We’re only in April and Disney is already having a fantastic year - and oh, yes, Civil War is just a few weeks away.

The popularity of The Jungle Book is a tribute to the studio, the director and the concept. While we’ve seen recent adaptations of established classics such as Pan stumble, Disney had an ace up their sleeve with this tale.Their animated version of The Jungle Book features some of the most famous movie songs in their entire library. The promise of their inclusion in a more action-packed version of Life of Pi enticed consumers to give Disney the benefit of the doubt yet again.

Favreau’s presence also helped. The last five films he has directed are Chef, Cowboys and Aliens, Iron Man and its sequel, and now The Jungle Book. That’s three blockbusters, one critical darling, and one unfortunate miss, giving him one of the best track records of any director working today. Should The Jungle Book reach $300 million domestically, it will be Favreau’s third such tentpole title since 2008, a truly historic accomplishment.

Since this action-packed story targets the male demographic more than the average Disney live action adaptation, its multiplier won’t be as good as some of the studio’s other recent releases. It’s still reasonable to expect something in the 3.0 range. That’d give us a Friday-to-Sunday total of $84 million, and when we add back in the Thursday previews, will put it at $88 million.

The latest version of the Rudyard Kipling story has also grossed $57 million so far from international venues, so it should have earned at least $200 million worldwide within its first week of release. This is a good time to mention that The Jungle Book’s budget is $175 million. As strong as the performances of Maleficent and Cinderella were, The Jungle Book appears likely to surpass both. Not coincidentally, Disney has recently announced several other live action remakes to capitalize on the ascending popularity of these remakes. We’ make more fun of these Disney zealots if we weren’t spending 10 days at Disney World next month.

Second place, then, goes to Barbershop: The Next Cut, the third film in the actual Barbershop series and the fourth set in the same universe. Twelve years after the second film and 11 after the Beauty Shop spinoff, The Next Cut managed to earn $7 million on Friday. If it follows a similar trajectory to the first two films, it should come in with right around $20 million for the weekend. The particularly good news for Warner Bros. is that the film has received excellent reviews from critics, while audiences are happy with it as well, awarding it an A- Cinemascore.

Our final new wide release was Lionsgate’s Criminal, a thriller that featured the likes of Kevin Costner and Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, not even the star power of Deadpool could impress potential audiences, and it made just $2.1 million yesterday. It should earn about $6 million for the weekend before sliding off the edge of the cliff and crashing. So much for the notion that Deadpool might change things for Reynolds - it won’t as long as he chooses such terrible projects as this one.

With regard to holdovers, Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss dropped 62% from Friday-to-Friday, clearly a reflection of its rotten word-of-mouth. With $3.1 million yesterday, it will have a weekend total of $12 million. Meanwhile, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was also down 61%, continuing the disastrous run that will seriously damage the viability of future installments in the franchise.