‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Advancing To $51M+ Opening; ‘Richard Jewell’ & ‘Black Christmas’ Earn Lumps Of Coal

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Advancing To $51M+ Opening; ‘Richard Jewell’ & ‘Black Christmas’ Earn Lumps Of Coal

3rd Update, Saturday AM: Refresh for chart This can sometimes be an unpredictable weekend at the box office prior to Christmas, but when a studio has some form of solid goods, there are riches to be gained. Sony bravely went before Star Wars this year with its Jumanji sequel rather than follow like they did in 2017, and they’re off to a great start with Jumanji: The Next Level making a $19.4M estimated Friday and a $51.1M opening weekend. The pic’s entire running WW cume by Sunday is expected to reach $196M+.

“There is a lot to like with Next Level, starting with the returning cast. The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan are all adored by family-friendly moviegoing audiences.  And, for the most part, Fans are liking the change of pace with the ‘something’s wrong with the game’ storyline.  Even Ozzy Osbourne’s song featured in the trailer is getting some call-outs.  All in all, the discussion leans heavily positive for a sequel that had such an entertaining predecessor – not to mention all the super-social cast returning and some new faces like Awkwafina added, too,” says social media monitor RelishMix which has a pulse on what’s working and what’s not at the multiplex.

Olivia Wilde In 'Richard Jewell' Twitter Frenzy

Friday night exits on PostTrak segued to 65% general audiences, 35% families, with 3 1/2 stars from general audiences and parents and 4 stars from kids under 12 skewing 55% boys to 45% girls. A largely even spread among all audiences with men over 25 leading at 28%, females under 25 at 25%, females over 25 and men under 25 each at 24%. Close to half of the audience was under 25 with 72% under 35 years old. Diversity mix was 49% Caucasian, 21% Asian/Other, 15% African American, & 15% Hispanic. The Next Level played best in the West and South-West but was pretty solid throughout.

Given the near $1 billion success of the first movie, Sony made damn sure this sequel wasn’t going to work out, unlike the recent misfires of such IP as Charlie’s Angels ($55.8M global worldwide), and the OK performance of Zombieland: Double Tap, which at $119.5M WW, is only 17% better than it’s ten year old first chapter.

Suffering at the box office are Warner Bros’. A Cinemascore rated Clint Eastwood-directed movie Richard Jewell and Universal/Blumhouse’s under $5M horror pic Black Christmas which are respectively earning $5M and $4.5M in spots 4 and 5. While Jumanji: The Next Level was generally in the range of tracking, both Richard Jewell and Black Christmas are well below the $10M minimum that services were spotting on both films.

Claire Folger/Warner Bros.

Warners planted Richard Jewell right where they put Eastwood’s The Mule last December which was a great sleeper opening to $17.5M and legging out to $103.8M, but that’s because it starred the American icon and his fare (outside of American Sniper) generally does better at the B.O. of late when he stars in it. It would be easy to say that the controversy alone stirred up by the Atlanta Journal Constitution over their portrayal and their late reporter Kathy Scrugg’s in Richard Jewell is what’s sinking this pic’s B.O., but there are other obvious factors as well. This is a sophisticated adult film opening in the pre-Christmas corridor, so right there its ticket sales are hampered. Also the pic’s storyline of a hero security guard who is beaten down by the FBI and the media as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing doesn’t exactly scream joy joy this holiday season. Also, unlike Sully, Richard Jewell isn’t a movie about an unsung hero in recent memory and doesn’t feature a marquee star like Tom Hanks. Star power didn’t factor into Eastwood’s decision when he went for the best actor for the role of Jewell (who is a shoo-in for the part), fresh face, on-the-rise I,Tonya actor Paul Walter Hauser. While Eastwood pics will get launched in the December period, sometimes Warners will platform them. Eastwood works fast so this one, like Mule last year, was ready for a 4Q opening promptly after its summer shoot. Given that the pic has a late tee-off in awards season, and didn’t swoon Golden Globe or SAG voting members (with only one Globe nom for Kathy Bates in her supporting role), that also is factoring into the pic’s slowdown here. At this time of year, expect Richard Jewell as an Eastwood pic to do a 3x, maybe 4x multiple. The pic’s opening is under that of Eastwood’s Nelson Mandela feature Invictus which starred Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon and opened to $8.6M, and finaled at $37.4M. The ideal scenario for this movie given its solid Cinemascore and Rotten Tomatoes of 75% fresh? Launch this film earlier in awards season out of a festival, wait out and fight out the controversy, and beat the drum everywhere for Richard Jewell (which by the way is how Netflix is sweeping noms and awards so far this season with The Irishman — by spending and being everywhere. Take a note on that and wake up to that major studios). However, Warners is high on Just Mercy which they launched at TIFF, and that despite its performances is a very sleepy movie. Richard Jewell has bite. With a cost of $45M before P&A and an American story, don’t expect much from overseas with Richard Jewell, in what is another upscale adult misfire for Warner Bros.

Richard Jewell drew 54% male with 56% under 35 and 55% between 18-34 years old. Moviegoers were comprised of 69% Caucasian, 14% African American, 7% Hispanic and 4% Asian. Best territories for Richard Jewell were in the Mid-West and South where Eastwood films usually work, but even there ticket sales were mediocore.

Says RelishMix, “Social discussion for this latest Eastwood drama is politely and diplomatically described as heated. There are those who feel like Eastwood’s films are masterpieces of dramatic storytelling.  But, there is plenty of impassioned discussion over the greater topic of the media in this country, its power and Jewell as the obvious example for many comments.  Negative discussion ranges from interesting points and counter-points to outright disgraceful language and vitriol far too common in our current social environment. The bottom line is that, like other controversial movies, much of the convo specific to the film is mixed – and a good percentage of the film’s total volume concerns topics tangential to Jewell.”

After cutting a great trailer for Black Christmas, how the hell did this film burn up like a Christmas tree? Some prestige critics from Variety and NY Times enjoyed the movie with others applauding the pic’s “skewering of toxic masculinity, the white male literary canon, rape culture” as IndieWire praised. But overall this reboot of the 1974 movie and 2006 Dimension movie in which the sorority girls vs. the guys is being knifed in the back by moviegoers with an awful D+ Cinemascore and 1 1/2 stars and a 38% definite recommend on PostTrak. Some genre critics (over RT here is a bad 43% Rotten) complain that the first first hour of this 92 movie is a drag, with all of the scares falling flat. RelishMix screams, “The general feeling is that the trailer ruins the film by giving away too much and revealing the very twist of the movie related to a cult.”

Universal has opened a Christmas horror pic film before in early December, Krampus, which did a $16.2M 3-day, $42.7M final and $61.5M. But that was in the post Black Friday weekend dead zone (the first weekend of December) which is where horror at this time of year can have a chance (as well as at the end of the month closer to New Year’s). Uni wanted to get some distance from Disney behemoth Frozen 2, but that film is continuing to take young females away from this PG-13 horror pic with a third weekend of $19.1M in 2nd place, not to mention Jumanji: The Next Level is capturing 13% of the 13-17 crowd to Black Christmas’ 9%. Of the few who turned out, mostly older people at males over 25 (32%), females over 25 (29%), with females under 25 at 25% and 15% guys under 25. The East and the South were best markets for Black Christmas, but even there sales were bad. The whole holiday box office multiple defense won’t work here for this pic — because the audience response is so horrible.

Chart coming later this morning. 

2nd Update, Friday Midday: Jumanji: The Next Level per industry estimates is on its way to $17.5M-$18M for a 3-day of $46M-$50M, well ahead of the previous installment’s 3-day of $36.1M which was actually a 6-day opener through the then Christmas holiday of $71.9M. Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle was boosted by early Amazon sneaks of $2M; the pic opened in full sans Tuesday previews on the Wednesday before Christmas which fell on a Monday in 2017. Already in its overseas release, Jumanji: The Next Level counts $66.8M from 18 offshore territories including China, France, Taiwan and Indonesia to name a few.

Overseas according to Nancy Tartaglione, Jumanji: The Next Level is adding several majors including the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, Japan, Korea and Mexico. Industry estimates have the pic coming in between $60M-$65M mark in the new markets.  UK and Korea opened Wednesday. Last weekend’s holdovers are expected to contribute about $20M for the FSS, so the full frame should come in at $80M+ overseas. Add that to the week’s total and running foreign B.O. for the Jake Kasdan pic will stand at $146.8M with a potential full global tally of $196M+ by Sunday.

The $52.5M international debut session last weekend included China which underperformed, whereas numbers elsewhere in Asia and Europe were better, largely surpassing Welcome To The Jungle. Australia, Italy and Brazil are still to release later in December and in early January.

Outside of families, adults sans kids aren’t ready to come to the movies this week, still distracted by holiday activities with Warner Bros. Richard Jewell opening at a low $6M in 4th place off a $1.8M-$2M Friday. Universal/Blumhouse Black Christmas isn’t putting wads of cash under the studio’s Christmas tree with $2M today and $5.3M for the weekend in 5th. Hopefully people will find these pics later in the season.

1st Update, Friday 7:10 AM: Sony’s sequel Jumanji: The Next Level is off to a great start with a $4.7 million Thursday off shows that began at 4 PM in 3,778 locations. Sony sees a $35M opening weekend at 4,227 theaters, but others see the third pic in the franchise much higher, in the $45M-$50M range. Typically, moviegoing doesn’t explode until after Christmas, so even if Jumanji 2 comes in lower than expected, the hope is for a big multiple. Like 2017, the pic will be the other tentpole in a holiday marketplace next to Star Wars. 

Last night’s cash is just above what Paramount’s reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made in August 2014, which resulted in a $65.5M opening. Remember there aren’t any K-12 schools out today, only 27% colleges. Next Friday when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens, school vacation stats jump to 15% K-12 out, 79% colleges on break, hence the beginning of a robust holiday period. Another box office comparison title being looked at here is last December’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse which made $3.5M in previews before finaling a $12.6M Friday, $35.3M opening.

Parents and kids under 12 last night gave the Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart-Jack Black-Karen Gillan and director Jake Kasdan reteam 4 stars on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak, while general audiences gave it 3 1/2 stars and a 58% definite recommend. These exits can fluctuate throughout the weekend. The pic drew 74% general audience, 26% families. Jumanji 2 has a 69% Rotten Tomatoes score, just under the 76% certified fresh score of the last installment, which revived the Sony brand with a $36.1M stateside opening, and a very leggy $404.5M stateside and $962.1M worldwide. We hear from solid finance sources that Jumanji: The Next Level cost around $132M net.

Warner Bros is opening Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell today in the throes of the pic’s controversy over its portrayal of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No previews were held last night, but the pic is expected to file $10M at 2,502 locations.

Black Christmas Univeral

Going after young females (who still yet have to come out in droves), Universal/Blumhouse has Black Christmas in roughly 2,500 theaters today with an eye on $10M-$12M. We hear at this early part of the morning that the Sophia Takal-directed feature made $230K in previews. Pic stars Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, Simon Mead and Cary Elwes in a reboot of the 1974 movie. In this rendition, a group of female students are stalked by a stranger during their Christmas break, that is until the young sorority pledges discover that the killer is part of an underground college conspiracy. Critics weren’t kind to Black Christmas, giving it a 41% Rotten Tomatoes score. The pic’s exits were awful last night with 1 star on PostTrak and a 29% definite recommend. Make-up was 54% males/46% females, with 45% under 25/55% over 25. Leading demos last night were men over 25 (31%), women over 25 (24%), men under 25 (23%) and females under 25 (22%).

Disney’s Frozen 2of course, led all pics in regular release Thursday with an estimated $1.76M, ending its third week with $44.4M and a running total of $347.3M. Lionsgate/MRC’s Knives Out was second with $1.27M, a second-week take of $20.3M and a running estimated total of $69.7M.