Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
April 19, 2016
Kim Hollis: The Jungle Book exceeded expectations significantly as it earned a massive $103.3 million this weekend. How did Disney accomplish such an amazing result?
Ben Gruchow: First and foremost, they had a good project on their hands. The movie is thoughtful and well-realized without letting anything get out of balance on the screenplay level. Then they brought in Jon Favreau to direct, which is as clear a sign of confidence as I can think of. You look at his resume as director, and you can pretty easily grasp how well-suited he is to guide the audience through a new world with clarity and consistency of tone. They took the visual effects obligation seriously, and the overall feeling that emerged was one kind of similar to the first Iron Man in 2008; here was an event picture that was almost certainly going to be worth prioritizing and going out and seeing.
John Hamann: To achieve a result like this, so many things must fall in to place. Just to get to $70 million, Disney needed the full on Disney Marketing Machine, and it churned out another winner. Add to that trailers before both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Zootopia and awareness was higher than realized. Mix in those fabulous reviews, A and A+ Cinemascores, and the opening is likely pushed to $90 million. Add to that the sweet spot Disney found in the release schedule (four weekends after BvS, and four before Marvel’s Civil War) and the vacuum created by The Boss and Batman cratering last weekend, and The Jungle Book was pushed beyond any expectations.
Jason Barney: I am not surprised that the result was strong, although this is well above expectations and a big win for Disney. I was surprised by the price tag associated with The Jungle Book, but really all they needed to do was hit the $70 million mark or so and have a good film, and the numbers would have eventually added up to profitability. With an opening north $100 million, this is money in the bank. With glowing reviews, the holds are likely to be very strong, so Disney, once again, is going to have a nice hit on their hands.
How did they do this? Well, I think in the grand scheme there is a certain appeal for people seeing the cartoons of their childhood actually made into live action films. Disney has had success with this lately, and it is sorta like the conversation geeks (I was one of them) used to have in the '90s about super hero films....would special effects eventually be able to deliver comic book stories? Well, that question has been answered, and now I think we are seeing that same dynamic work well for Disney and older cartoons.
I saw the film this weekend. It is pretty good. I have to admit, I sat there thinking/wondering when Disney will come out with a live action Little Mermaid or Lion King? One final point: perhaps the The Jungle Book achieved a bit of buzz in its first weekend because it is worth seeing, the type of buzz that Batman vs Superman was unable to garner. Going back four weekends now, imagine the money WB would have been able to make if they had given a better product...