Can ‘Jumanji’ Sequel Achieve Next-Level Box Office Success?

Jumanji: The Next Level” will seamlessly swing atop box office charts when it debuts in theaters on Friday. But the sequel will need to become another word-of-mouth hit for Sony if it hopes to entice moviegoers once “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” launches the following weekend.

If history repeats itself, “Jumanji” and “Star Wars” can co-exist at the box office in harmony. In 2017, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opened a week apart and both found massive commercial success. Thanks to the on-screen chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” became a surprise success with $405 million in North America and $962 million worldwide. Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars” sequel ended its theatrical run with a robust $1.3 million. Even with fierce box office competition, holiday releases tend to have big multiples since patrons often go to the movies more than once between Christmas and New Years.

Jumanji: The Next Level” is also banking on long run in theaters to justify its $125 million price tag. The fantasy-comedy is targeting an opening between $45 million to $55 million from 4,160 venues, though some bullish box office watchers predict that figure could reach closer to $60 million with strong buzz. However, Sony continues to curb expectations, given inconsistencies with tracking across the industry (particularly with sequels). The studio is projecting a $35 million start, on par with its predecessor’s $36 million opening weekend.

Popular on Variety

Ahead of its domestic debut, “Jumanji: The Next Level” kicked off overseas with $52.2 million. Though momentum could pick up, its already pacing well behind its predecessor in China, where it opened with $25 million compared to $39 million for the first film.

“Jumanji: The Next Level” again stars Johnson, Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas and Karen Gillan, while Awkwafina, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito joined the cast. The sequel follows the group of friends, who re-enter the fantastical — an even more dangerous — world of Jumanji.

Two new movies — Warner Bros. drama “Richard Jewell” and Universal and Blumhouse’s dark thriller “Black Christmas” — are arriving on theater marquees alongside “Jumanji.”

Directed by Clint Eastwood, “Richard Jewell” is a biographical drama based on the security guard falsely accused by the media for playing a part in the 1996 Olympics bombing. The film, starring Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde, is expected to earn $10 million from 2,502 venues in North America. “Richard Jewell” has been making headlines of its own after it found itself in the center of controversy over its portrayal of a female journalist trading sex for scoops.

Black Christmas” is targeting a similar debut between $10 million and $12 million from 2,500 screens. Sophia Takal directed the remake of a 1974 slasher film about sorority girls being stalked by an unknown killer.

Elsewhere, A24’s “Uncut Gems” and Lionsgate’s “Bombshell” are debuting in limited release. Josh and Benny Safdie directed “Uncut Gems,” an intense crime drama starring Adam Sandler as a New York jeweler dealing with repercussions from a high-stakes bet. “Bombshell” depicts the female Fox News anchors who went public with sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes. Both films have enjoyed critical acclaim.

More Film

  • Syd Mead Concept Design 1986 Aliens

    Syd Mead Designed the Future of Science Fiction Films

    The spinner police car in 1982’s “Blade Runner,” the light cycles of “Tron,” “futuristic Las Vegas” in “Blade Runner 2049” and the “USS Sulaco” in “Aliens” are indelible images of cinema, all from the imagination of the late Syd Mead, who died last month at the age of 86. You might not be aware of [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme

    Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and 'Freestyle Love Supreme' in Exclusive Clip From Sundance Documentary

    Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway [...]

  • Fernando Szew and Tomas Yankelevich

    Particular Crowd, MarVista Set 10-Plus Movies a Year Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI — Particular Crowd, the big new film banner of Warner Media’s Turner Latin America, and MarVista Entertainment, one of the world’s biggest and ambitious of independent entertainment studios, have announced a multi-year production slate deal. As part of the deal, Particular Crowd and MarVista will target production of 10-plus films per year, focusing on elevated [...]

  • Andy Serkis

    BAFTA to Honor Andy Serkis

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is presenting Andy Serkis with its Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the 73rd EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony on Feb. 2 in London. The organization said Thursday that it was honoring the British actor, producer and director for his pioneering work on performance [...]

  • The Olympic Rings adorn an event

    Tokyo Olympics Brings Upheaval to Japan's Summer Events Schedule

    The Tokyo Olympics, to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, and Paralympics, scheduled for Aug. 25 to Sept. 9, are affecting Japan’s big summer events. Everything from fireworks displays to music festivals have chosen to shift dates or even cancel altogether. The only film festival so far to announce a change in dates [...]

  • The Rescue

    Overseas Releases of Chinese Films to be Cancelled Following Virus Outbreak

    The overseas release of Chinese films in the next weeks is certain to be affected by the cancellation of theatrical outings in mainland China as a response to the rampant spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, movie companies in China announced they would not go ahead with the release of seven major films at Chinese [...]

  • Boris JohnsonConservative Party rally on eve

    U.K. Parliament Passes Brexit Law, Leaving Film, TV Incentives Unaffected

    The U.K. Parliament on Wednesday evening passed legislation paving the way for the country to leave the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. had “crossed the Brexit finish line” following passage of the Withdrawal Agreement, which will officially become law when it receives royal assent from Queen [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content