Box Office: ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ Off to Strong Start

Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is off to a solid start with an estimated $7 million to $8 million on its opening day at 3,765 North American sites, early estimates showed Wednesday.

The first numbers point to a six-day gross between $45 million and $55 million range for the six-day period that runs through Christmas Day. Studio projections that have been in the $45 million range for several weeks.

Initial estimates for Fox’s Hugh Jackman musical drama “The Greatest Showman” showed a first-day number of about $3 million at 3,005 locations — which would probably leave “Showman” with a six-day total of about $20 million, in line with recent forecasts.

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is expected to continue to dominate domestic moviegoing. The tentpole took in $20.3 million domestically on Tuesday at 4,232 locations for the ninth-highest Tuesday of all time, down just 5% from Monday’s take. The North American total has hit $261.9 million in its first five days.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” a sequel to the 1995 hit, is launching amid solid reviews with an 80% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. It generated about $2 million in sellouts on Dec. 8 in a promotion for Amazon Prime members in 1,000 theaters.

The movie follows four high schoolers who discover an old video game and get sucked into its jungle setting. They take on the avatars of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, and must escape the jungle and return to the real world — before they’re stuck in the game forever.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” carries a $90 million budget and is directed by Jake Kasdan from a screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner with a screen story by McKenna, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is produced by Matt Tolmach and William Teitler. The original “Jumanji,” starring the late Robin Williams, did big business for Sony’s TriStar Pictures in 1995, grossing $262 million worldwide.

The Greatest Showman,” starring Jackman as “Barnum and Bailey” founder P.T. Barnum, has been promoted  as a celebration of the birth of show business. It’s directed by Michael Gracey, with songs by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”). Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Zac Efron and Rebecca Ferguson also star in the project, which carries an $88 million budget. Reviews have been mixed with a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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