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411 Box Office Report: Jungle Cruise Takes Top Spot, Green Knight Starts Strong

August 1, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Jungle Cruise

The Rock and Emily Blunt sailed into the top spot at the box office this weekend, with Jungle Cruise dominating the competition. Disney’s family adventure film blew past the rest of the films in release to land at #1 with $34.2 million, outperforming its $25 million to $30 million expectations going into the weekend. The Disney film held on very well throughout the weekend as is often the case for family-focused films and added $27.6 million in a still-weaked international market for $61.8 million worldwide in theaters.

In addition, Disney has announced that the film drew $30 million in Disney+ Premier Access rentals. While that’s half of the $60 million that Black Widow was announced for in its first weekend of Disney Premier revenue, it’s a strong number for a film that is not part of an established box office juggernaut franchise and it puts Jungle Cruise’s full first-weekend revenue at $91.8 million, which is a good number to kick things off. It is a testament to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Blunt’s ability to open a film that, while based on a Disney theme park ride, still qualifies as a relatively original IP without a built-in franchise audience.

While Jungle Cruise was absolutely an expensive film at a reported $200 million production cost, this is a start that Disney should be happy with. The start is on par with Johnson’s 2018 film Rampage, which opened to $35.8 million during a non-pandemic era. That film went on to top $100 million domestically and did $427.9 million worldwide, and that was without the usual strong box office legs that more family-oriented films tend to do. Jungle Cruise will likely benefit from better word of mouth than Rampage, with a 62% critical consensus on aggregate Rotten Tomatoes (compared to 51% for Rampage), though the A- CinemaScore is the same for both films.

It’s impossible to get around the fact that Jungle Cruise has the pandemic still looming over it, like all films at the box office. Disney is of course in a spot of controversy for its Disney+ Premier Access releases thanks to that little lawsuit from Scarlett Johansson over Black Widow, but the strategy is undoubtedly boosting its blockbusters’ profitability (while potentially hurting stars’ earning power based on contracts). It’s difficult to estimate where Jungle Cruise may ultimately end up as COVID-19 variants rise, but a $110 million domestic take seems very possible and if international grosses can start to get back to normal this should be a hit for Disney even with the sizable budget.

Coming in at a strong #2 was A24’s The Green Knight. The independent studio’s adaptation of Arthurian legend brought in $6.8 million, making it A24’s third-best opening of all time behind horror hits Hereditary ($13.6 million in 2018) and 2016’s The Witch ($8.8 million). The opening is a bit higher than the $4 million predicted for it coming into the weekend, bouyed by very strong reviews (89% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a very buzzy online marketing campaign.

The Green Knight represents another example of A24 turning non-commercial fare into relative hits. The movie is by no means a popcorn film or an mass audience-pleaser, and the C+ CinemaScore attests to that. But A24 knows their audience and knows they will come out for their films; Hereditary had a D+ CinemaScore and Midsommar had a C+, but they tripled and quadrupled their opening weekends at the domestic box office, respectively. The Dev Patel-starring film’s cost is believed to be in the $15 million to $20 million range and if it can deliver with some decent legs at the box office, this will be another profitable venture for the indie studio.

Meanwhile, M. Night Shyamalan’s Old had a predictable fall as it slipped 60% to $6.8 million in its second weekend. The beach-set thriller’s slip looks high, but it is honestly pretty normal outside of his last couple films in Glass (which had franchise momentum) and Split (which had unusually strong Shyamalan legs). It’s especially tolerable for Universal considering the relatively low word of mouth that the film has received. Old currently stands at $30.6 million domestically and $48.6 million worldwide, decent numbers for an $18 million budgeted film. By the end of its run, it’s still on par for $45 million in the US and being labeled profitable venture for Universal.

Black Widow was down a solid 45% in its fourth weekend, proof that bad press can bring in good numbers in theaters. The MCU film nailed down an additional $6.4 million to push its numbers to $167.1 million domestically and $343.6 million worldwide. Widow’s biggest sticking point is that China still isn’t opening up their box office to other countries for the most part (typical for their summer), and it has yet to release there. Domestically it continues to track slightly ahead of films like Thor: The Dark World and Ant-Man, and it should still be able to come close to or top $200 million domestically by the end of its theatrical run. Without factoring lawsuits into play, it will be a solid hit for Disney.

Focus Features’ Stillwater opened about than expected, bringing in $5.1 million in its first weekend. The Matt Damon-starring crime drama, which is very loosely based on Amanda Knox’s story, came in right about where analysts were predicting. This is a film that likely would have opened larger in pre-2020 times, as it is targeted to older audiences who are still lagging behind in theatrical attendance.

Fortunately, Focus wasn’t banking on this being a massive hit and has moderate expectations for it, which it seems likely to meet. The film reportedly cost about $20 million and it won’t make that back in theaters, but a movie like this tends to do well in its post-theatrical life. The reviews for Stillwater have been solid at 75% on RT, though audience word of mouth is weak for the genre at a B-. The film did court some controversy after Knox slammed the film for taking liberties with the story, but that doesn’t seem to have had an impact at this point. If Stillwater performs like a typical film of this genre and target demographic, it should be able to approach $20 million domestically by the end of its run and perhaps a bit more.

Space Jam: A New Legacy dipped 55% in its third weekend to bring in $4.3 million. The live-action/CGI hybrid sequel stabilized some after its rough 69% fall last weekend, something that will surely ease Warner Bros.’ minds a bit. The film currently stands at $60.7 million domestically and $118.6 million worldwide, which is not great considering the $150 million budget but again, this movie is mostly going to make its money on its licensing. It seems on par to end its domestic run at around $75 million or so, and will need a boost in overseas numbers to be profitable in theaters.

Meanwhile, Paramount has a serious G.I. Joe problem as Snake Eyes followed up its terrible start with a cringe-worthy drop. The prequel fell 70% in its second weekend from an already-low number to bring in $4 million. There’s literally no good news here in any way you look at it. The film has now grossed $22.3 million domestically and 23.9 million worldwide, horrifically bad against an $88 million budget. If Snake Eyes makes it to $40 million at this point it will be a legitimate surprise. Obviously, that means a big failure at the box office and a franchise likely going back into the vault for a bit.

F9: The Fast Saga dropped 45% to $2.7 million in its sixth weekend. The ninth film in the Fast & Furious franchise now stands at $168.5 million domestically and $641.7 million worldwide, a megahit even against a $200 million budget. Its theatrical run is still on course to end at around $180 million.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was down a much lighter 37% in its third weekend after a 61% fall last frame. The horror sequel took in $2.2 million, now standing at $20.6 million domestically and $31.1 million worldwide. Those are perfectly good numbers against a $15 million budget, and the film should finish off at around $28 million or so in the states.

The Boss Baby: Family Business closed out the top ten with $1.3 million, down 55% in its fifth weekend. The animated family sequel is now at $53.5 million domestically and $70.3 million worldwide. It’s box office fate is sealed, as it should end off at about $60 million and won’t make back its $82 million production budget, but it also drove some Peacock subscriptions where it premiered day-and-date.

Next weekend will see all give way to The Suicide Squad, which welcomes DC back to the box office. The James Gunn-directed film is aiming for anywhere from $40 million to $60 million, depending on a lot of factors. The Winston Duke-led drama Nine Days is expected to expand to wide release, but won’t come close to #1.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Jungle Cruise – $34.2 million ($34.2 million total)
2. The Green Knight – $6.8 million ($6.8 million total)
3. Old – $6.8 million ($30.6 million total)
4. Black Widow – $6.4 million ($167.1 million total)
5. Stillwater – $5.1 million ($5.1 million total)
6. Space Jam: A New Legacy – $4.3 million ($60.7 million total)
7. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins – $4 million ($22.3 million total)
8. F9: The Fast Saga – $2.7 million ($168.5 million total)
9. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – $2.2 million ($20.6 million total)
10. The Boss Baby: Family Business – $1.3 million ($53.5 million total)