The Huntsman Is No Box Office Fairy Tale
By John Hamann
April 24, 2016
You can put Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain and Liam Hemsworth into a Snow White prequel and expect success, but without the fair maiden and a pile of bad reviews, you’ve got nothing at the box office – leaving a large amount of room for a repeat win for The Jungle Book.
Universal’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War didn’t have a chance this weekend, as nothing was going to mess with the roll that The Jungle Book is on. Since the Disney film is behaving like a steamroller, No Snow White and the Huntsman got crushed. The Jungle Book is too hot - $103.3 million last weekend, another $27.5 million Monday-to-Thursday (in April), and an overseas gross to Thursday of $246.7 million pushed its worldwide total to an awesome $393.7 million. The heavy hitter on top made room for some smaller films to sprout, as Lionsgate’s Pantelion got Compadres started, and Roadside Attractions debuted Tom Hanks in Tom Tykwer’s A Hologram for the King.
Number one this weekend is The Jungle Book. That result has always been a foregone conclusion, but it’s the number and the percentage drop that are key. The Jungle Book's fate between blockbuster and mega-blockbuster will be almost completely decided this weekend - at least domestically. A strong hold in the sophomore frame like this can mean the difference between a 3.5 opening-to-total multiplier (good), or a 4.0 (great). For a movie like The Jungle Book, that’s a $50 million dollar gap between the low side and the high side. Strong legs will also turn a movie like The Jungle Book into a phenomenon, giving it more of that key ancillary business like toys and blankets.
Disney would be looking for a sub-50% decline, a tough achievement for any film that opens over $100 million. Disney didn’t want a performance like Minions ($115 million open, 57% second weekend drop). They wanted a repeat of Toy Story 3 ($110.3 million open, 46% second weekend decline). Toy Story 3 and Minions opened within $5 million of each other, but finished $80 million apart at the domestic box office after all was said and done.
The Jungle Book started its second weekend with a $16.4 million Friday gross, off only 49%. I say "only" because last weekend’s Friday take of $32 million included $4.2 million from Thursday previews, making that drop only more stellar at 41%. The recorded 49% decline was only going to improve over the course of the weekend, as kids and families are thronging to this one. The weekend estimate came in at a very powerful $60.9 million, easily putting it in the top 20 best second weekends ever (Deadpool at $56.5 million is now 22nd). The percentage decline is awesome at only 41%, putting The Jungle Book in a position to easily land in the $350-400 million domestic range. It won’t be easy – Alice in Wonderland opened to $116.1 million, dropped 46% in weekend two, and finished with $334 million domestically.