JUNGLE CRUISE Sails To #1: $34M Theaters, $30M Disney Plus (BOX OFFICE)

Based on the theme park ride, Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE opened to $64 million with its hybrid release strategy.

Disney took moviegoers for a ride.

In its opening weekend, Jungle Cruise — the new adventure based on the Disney Theme Park ride, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson — coasted to the top of the box office, capturing $34 million worth of tickets at multiplexes. It added an additional $30 million on Disney Plus, where the movie is available for a $30 Premier Access fee, making for a $64 million total haul.

It’s a solid debut for these pandemic times, especially for a movie not part of a popular franchise. But with a budget of $200 million, Disney was hoping for numbers closer to Pirates of the Caribbean. Given the “Davy Jones”-nature of the undead bad guys, it seems clear that Disney was calculating for a new kind of Pirates-level gold mine.

To its credit, Jungle Cruise actually landed two-to-three million above weekend projections. With the $64 million combined hybrid total nearing F9‘s theatrical-exclusive $70 million debut at the end of June, Disney is probably satisfied with its return. Even though it will end up in the red, the studio likely sees it as an investment in their streamer while also providing the still-vital theatrical platform some needed event content. Black Widow remains the top opener of the pandemic ($80 million theaters; $60 million Disney Plus).

Battling for the #2 slot are last weekend’s champ Old, and this week’s new entry, the dark and strange Arthurian tale The Green Knight, a Rated R indie that’s more strange and abstract than traditional medieval lore. It stars Dev Patel. Currently, M. Night Shyamalan‘s Old is estimating a $6.76 million weekend while The Green Knight is tallying a hair better at $6.78 million. Those numbers could change once final results are released Monday.

For Black Widow, it’s still holding steady as the #4 film in the country. Its $6.1 million take brings its overall total to $166 million domestic, second best of the pandemic ($2.5 million shy of and closing in on the fading F9) but extremely low by non-pandemic Marvel standards.

Rounding out the Top 5 is Stillwater, the Matt Damon indie drama about an Oklahoma oil worker who travels to France to fight for the release of his daughter from prison; she claims to be innocent of the murder for which she was convicted. Co-written and directed by Tom McCarthy (Best Picture winner Spotlight), Stillwater drilled down $5.12 million.

Next weekend, the highly anticipated R-Rated reboot of The Suicide Squad from Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn should provide another gauge for where we’re at with the theatrical market, especially as COVID cases surge with the new, more-contagious Delta variant.

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