Disney has published opening weekend’s numbers on both the box office and video on demand performance of its Jungle Cruise, accounting for a domestic theatrical gross of $34.2 million from 4,310 screens, versus over $30 million in global streams on Disney+ Premier. Add $27.6M in theaters from 47 markets overseas and Jungle Cruise amounts to an opening weekend of $91.8 million. As it was the case with Black Widow, the majority of Disney+ Premier revenue comes from the U.S., a market more accustomed to Disney+ purchases, a practice other territories are still adopting.
The adventure film, starring Dwayne Johnson with Emily Blunt, and based on a classic Disneyland ride, has enjoyed positive reception, with 63% critic score and 93% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It has also surpassed Cruella, which opened to $42.6 million worldwide ($21.5 million domestically) on Memorial Day Weekend plus an undisclosed video on demand revenue, against a $200 million budget. These are uncertain times for distributors like Disney or Warner Bros., who find themselves weighing between traditional or hybrid release strategies to turn a profit, amidst an uneven post-pandemic reopening process.
Hybrid releases have proved to be indeed controversial, as Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson has recently sued Disney for breach of contract on its failure to deliver an exclusively theatrical release for the Marvel picture. Johansson alleges that by releasing the film simultaneously on Disney+, the studio deprived her of up to $50 million in box office-bonuses. Disney responded with a fiery statement, calling the lawsuit “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
While the rising Delta variant of COVID-19 hasn’t yet caused a noticeable decrease of theatrical business in the U.S., it has affected other still recovering markets, like Australia, Korea and Japan, which have reinstated capacity restrictions, while France requires proof of vaccination to enter movie theaters.
Below Jungle Cruise, the No. 2 box office spot is occupied by A24’s The Green Knight, with $6.78 million from 2,790 locations, followed tightly by M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, which earned $6.76 million in its second weekend. The Universal-distributed thriller has grossed $30.6 million domestically and $48.6 million worldwide so far. The Green Knight is an arthouse medieval fantasy film, starring Dev Patel, which has earned critics’ blessing with a 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but has polarized audiences with a 53% score.
The fourth spot is taken by Black Widow, with $6.4 million domestically in its fourth weekend, of a total domestic $167.1 million, considerably less than previous Marvel releases. It is followed by Stillwater, distributed by Focus Features, which opened to $5.1 million in 2,531 screens. It has a 75% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.