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Box Office: ‘Jungle Cruise’ Earns $2.7 Million in Thursday Previews

Jungle Cruise Disney
Courtesy of Frank Masi/Disney

Jungle Cruise” sailed into port with $2.7 million after opening in Thursday evening previews.

The Disney film is armed with substantial star power in the form of Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, but it also faces fierce headwinds given that the public health situation is worsening as the highly contagious Delta variant appears to be making moviegoers skittish about returning to theaters. “Jungle Cruise,” which like “Pirates of the Caribbean” before it, is based on a theme park ride, and it’s on track to debut to between $25 million to $30 million when it opens in 4,310 screens.

Disney is hedging its bets, however. The film is also being made available to rent to Disney Plus subscribers for $30. The studio has deployed a similar release strategy on recent films such as “Cruella” and “Black Widow.” That approach is leading to some headaches — namely a breach of contract lawsuit leveled by Scarlett Johansson against the company, alleging that the studio cost her millions in profit participation.

Jaume Collet-Serra directed the $200 million “Jungle Cruise,” which co-stars Jesse Plemons, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall and Paul Giamatti. There were hopes that the movie could create a new family-friendly franchise for the studio. “Jungle Cruise” centers on a riverboat captain who is tasked with helping a British scientist and her brother find the mystical tree of life. It’s set during World War I, which should be a delight for tykes who love a good story that evokes the days of trench warfare.

Focus Features will also use the weekend to launch “Stillwater,” a well-reviewed drama about an American trying to aide his imprisoned daughter in France. The movie debuted in Cannes and is generating awards heat for star Matt Damon.

A24 will also offer up “The Green Knight,” a medieval fantasy adventure starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton. The indie film earned $750,000 in Thursday previews.