Jungle Book Busts Out, Beats Estimates by 30%
By John Hamann
April 17, 2016
Welcome to The Jungle (Book) as Disney brings the box office to its knees. We’ve got another massive, Deadpool-type breakout, but this time, for kids!
Disney has had the number one film at the box office six times out of a possible 16 weekends in 2016, doing it again this weekend with The Jungle Book, a critically-adored piece of art from Jon Favreau, who is becoming a generation’s director, delivering those key first films that breed franchises. The Jungle Book exploded this weekend, hammering estimates that were calling for a $70 million weekend. Also this weekend, after a dozen years off, the Barbershop franchise is back with Barbershop: The Next Cut, from MGM and Warner Bros. and with Ice Cube back in the lead role. Our third opener is another troubled release from Lionsgate in Criminal, the Self/Less like actioner with Kevin Costner and Ryan Reynolds. The result this weekend is a frame dominated by The Jungle Book, as the 2016 box office has its fourth $90 million plus opener.
Disney is having the year Universal enjoyed last year, and we are only four months into 2016. Disney opened the year with two more winning weekends of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The studio Disney took in $283 million of the $935 million domestic gross in calendar year 2016. They then had the disappointing Finest Hours ($50 million worldwide versus a $70 million production budget), but then they released Zootopia. That $150 million release that is barreling toward $1 billion at the worldwide box office and reaching a significant domestic milestone this weekend. Then, they have their summer - Marvel’s Civil War in early May, and the Alice in Wonderland sequel in late May, a possible $2 billion worldwide combo. After that, they'll have three kids’ films that should do significant business: Finding Dory, The BFG and Pete’s Dragon. Finally, post-summer highlights include Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to top off the year.
The Jungle Book exploded this weekend, busting expectations. It started on Thursday night at previews, earning a spectacular $4.2 million on a school night. The numbers only got better from there. The combined Thursday/Friday came in at $32.4 million – almost $10 million more than I expected. That opening day is just a few million off the $34.4 million that Fast Five had in April 2011 on its way to an $86 million opening weekend. It was also just off Inside Out, which had an opening day of $34.3 million on its way to a $90.4 million opening frame. Inside Out opened on June 19th, so most schools would have been out at the time.
On Saturday, The Jungle Book blew up big time. It earned a massive $41.1 million, an excellent figure considering it dominated the Friday number, which also had $4.2 million from Thursday to prop it up. It is almost unheard of to see this kind of increase with these kinds of numbers - Inside Out’s Saturday came in at $30.9 million (down from $34.9 million on Friday), and Fast Five’s Saturday was $29.9 million (down from $34.4 million). When Inside Out opened, it did so in the shadow of Jurassic World. That meant a second place finish against a film that had a sophomore weekend gross of $106.6 million. With The Boss and Batman struggling last weekend, The Jungle Book had the box office vacuum I’ve spoken about in the past working for it, and benefited from Batman v Superman evacuating the big auditoriums. Last weekend had the lowest top 12 since 2008, and The Jungle Book took advantage.