×

‘Jungle Book’ to Rule Box Office Kingdom With $70 Million Opening

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” will dominate the U.S. box office this weekend, opening in the $70 million range while “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” continues its fast fade at multiplexes.

The live-action-CG hybrid, directed by Jon Favreau, is launching at 4,028 domestic venues with critics having embraced the movie with some of the best reviews of the year for a studio production. It currently has a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Disney is so confident about the impending success of the family film — which carries a $175 million budget — that it’s already started developing a sequel. The studio is in talks with Favreau, screenwriter Justin Marks and producer Brigham Taylor to return.

Should “The Jungle Book” hit $75 million, it would match Disney’s animated hit “Zootopia” for the third-best opening of the year after “Batman v Superman” at $166 million and “Deadpool” at $132.4 million.

“The Jungle Book” is the latest in Disney’s live-action reimagining of classic stories, following “Alice in Wonderland,” “Maleficent,” “Oz” and “Cinderella” — which took in $67.9 million in its opening weekend last year on its way to a $201.2 million domestic total and a $542.7 million global cume.

Popular on Variety

“Maleficent” opened two years ago with $69.4 million on its way to a $241.4 million domestic total and $758.5 million worldwide.

“The Jungle Book” will open at more than 3,100 locations which offer 3D, including 376 Imax sites. Previews begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The low end of estimates is around $65 million. With 63% of international territories opening, the international take should be near $75 million.

“The Jungle Book” grossed $28.9 million during the past weekend in a number of Asian and Latin American territories, including $7.6 million from India — the second highest industry opening for an American release. Besides the U.S. launch on Friday, “The Jungle Book” will also debut this weekend in China, Brazil, France and Mexico.

The movie is based on the Rudyard Kipling stories about Mowgli, an abandoned human boy who becomes friends with jungle animals after being raised by wolves. Disney released an animated version in 1967.

Favreau’s film includes Bill Murray voicing Baloo the bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the snake and Lupita Nyong’o as the mother wolf Raksha. Newcomer Neel Sethi stars as Mowgli.

The third weekend of “Batman v Superman” was edged last weekend by about $240,000 by Universal’s launch of Melissa McCarthy’s “The Boss” at $23.6 million. Both titles have received poor reviews and should decline by at least 50% this weekend.

Warner Bros.’ superhero mash-up topped the $298 million domestic mark on Monday, its 18th day, and should cross the $300 million milestone on Wednesday.

MGM-New Line’s comedy sequel “Barber Shop: The Next Cut” should also generate solid business in its opening weekend with at least $25 million at about 2,600 sites. Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Jazsmin Lewis, Sean Patrick Thomas and Eve have been in all three films with Common, Regina Hall and Nicki Minaj joining “The Next Cut.”

MGM oversaw production and Warner Bros. is handling distribution. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said “The Jungle Book” and “Barbershop” have been scheduled smartly.

“A great weekend is on tap with what looks to be solid performances by two perfectly counter programmed films that will pull both family audiences to ‘Jungle Book,’ who have been vastly underserved so far this year and audiences looking to revisit the fun of the ‘Barbershop’ ensemble,” he said.

“Barber Shop” opened in 2002 with $20 million on its way to $75 million domestically followed by 2004’s “Barber Shop 2: Back in Business” with a $24 million launch and a $65 million total.

Lionsgate’s debut of its thriller “Criminal” is projected to open moderately in the $7 million to $9 million range in approximately 2,600 locations. Kevin Costner stars as a death row inmate who’s implanted with a dead CIA agent’s memories in order to finish an assignment.

More Film

  • Joe Keery appears in Spree by

    'Spree': Film Review

    It didn’t seem like there was a large portion of the movie-going population who felt that Todd Phillips’ “Joker” was too subtle, in either its commentary on the modern era of those who are involuntarily celibate, or its homage-like appropriation of classic Martin Scorsese movies. But maybe writer-director-producer Eugene Kotlyarenko has other information, since that’s [...]

  • Dream Horse Review

    'Dream Horse': Film Review

    Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization. Euros Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within [...]

  • Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein appear

    'The Nowhere Inn': Film Review

    Bill Benz’s high-concept rock mockumentary opens with a white limo speeding through the desert. The driver (Ezra Buzzington) has never heard of his passenger, the cult sensation Annie Clark, better known by her stage name St. Vincent. “I’m not for everybody,” she shrugs. The driver is unsatisfied. “Don’t worry,” he glowers. “We’ll find out who [...]

  • THE_GLORIAS_DM_02-12-2019-00128.arw

    'The Glorias': Film Review

    In “The Glorias,” Julie Taymor’s pinpoint timely yet rousingly old-fashioned biopic about the life and times of Gloria Steinem, the legendary feminist leader is portrayed by four different actresses at four different stages of her life. Alicia Vikander plays her as a young woman wearing a sari as she travels through India, planting her flag [...]

  • Black Bear

    'Black Bear': Film Review

    Actor-writer Lawrence Michael Levine’s first two directorial features, “Gabi on the Roof in July” and “Wild Canaries,” were idiosyncratic indie hipster comedies of a familiar stripe. His third, “Black Bear,” is a much trickier proposition, a kind of narrative puzzle box in which one might be hard-pressed to find a solution, or even determine there [...]

  • Wendy

    'Wendy': Film Review

    Eight long years after “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin brings that same rust-bottomed sense of magical realism to the legend of Peter Pan, reframing J.M. Barrie’s Victorian classic through the eyes of the eldest Darling. “Wendy,” as the indie-minded not-quite-family-film is aptly titled, re-envisions its title character as a working-class kiddo raised at [...]

  • The 40-Year-Old Version

    'The 40-Year-Old Version': Film Review

    In Radha Blank’s semi-autobiographical comedy, the quadruple-threat plays “Rahda Blank,” a Harlem-based playwright who faces many of the same struggles and setbacks as her creator. It’s been more than a decade since Radha (as we’ll call the character) earned a promising “30 Under 30” award, and now, instead of getting her work produced, she’s teaching [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content