“This is as balanced as I’ve ever seen on any of the Disney live-action films we’ve worked on,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s distribution chief, while talking to the press yesterday about The Jungle Book‘s $103.5m record opening in North America. That’s the biggest April debut for a PG film and #2 April opening of all time for any film behind Furious 7 ($146.2 million). It’s also the second highest debut for any of Disney’s recent run of live-action fantasy adaptations, trailing Alice in Wonderland‘s still-astounding $116.1m from 2010.
But, wait, there’s more. Jungle Book debuted in select overseas markets last weekend, and it added an additional $136.1m to its foreign tally this weekend. That gives it a 10-day foreign/worldwide split of $187.4m/293.4m.
In the aftermath of such success, The Hollywood Reporter talked to various box office analysts this morning to better understand how this happened. After all, Jungle Book was supposed to open big, on par with the $65m-$70m debuts of Maleficent and Cinderella, but not $100m+ big [see my prior article about why pre-release tracking is so unreliable]. ComScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian thinks he knows what happened: Disney just created the perfect four-quadrant blockbuster, one which appeals equally to men and women as well as those over-25 and those under-25.
That’s the eternal Hollywood goal these days because a movie which appeals to everyone and disappoints no one is theoretically set up for a long theatrical run, saved from any kind of fanboy/fangirl effect overly inflating opening weekend totals. As Paul Dergarabedian said:
“Every studio executive dreams about the day they have a movie that plays to virtually all audiences irrespective of its rating, theme or target audience. Jungle Book is the perfect realization of that dream. It’s not just a kids movie, it’s not just a family movie, it’s a movie for everyone. And that’s how you get to a $100 million opening weekend.”
That makes it sound like the next time Disney CEO Big Iger walks into a Hollywood event filled to the brim with other Hollywood executives he’ll live out his own version of the pen ceremony scene from A Beautiful Mind, except maybe instead of pens his awestruck colleagues will lay down tiny gold-plated Mickey Mouse ears or something, whispering, “You did it, you ole sonofabitch. You found the perfect four-quadrant movie.”
|The Jungle Book (2016)||$103.5m||49%||51%||47%||53%|
|Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)||$79.1m||48%||52%||45%||55%|
|Alice in Wonderland (2010)||$116.1m||45%||55%||54%||46%|
Hmm. So it is. However, Oz: The Great and Powerful’s opening was nearly as evenly split across the demos, yet it’s three years later and we’re no closer to getting that sequel Disney promised. Maybe that’s because Oz cost $215m to make and who knows how much to market, and it didn’t even make it to a $500m worldwide (just $493m) by the end. Or maybe it’s because Sam Raimi apparently wants nothing to do with a sequel, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a demand for one.
It’s worth noting that Disney began developing an Oz: The Great and Powerful sequel before it came out, and history has repeated itself with Jan Favreau’s The Jungle Book. Whether or not we’ll ever see a Jungle Book 2, though, depends on how well this first Jungle Book holds up from this point forward. The four quadrant stats don’t help much because Oz appeared to be somewhat balanced, yet it’s opening-weekend-to-final-domestic gross multiplier is nearly identical to Cinderella’s, which is easily the most female-skewing of Disney’s recent fantasy adaptations.
|Film||Opening Weekend||Final Domestic Gross||Multiplier|
|The Jungle Book (2016)||$103.5m||???||???|
|Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)||$79.1m||$234.9m||2.96x|
|Alice in Wonderland (2010)||$116.1m||$334.1m||2.87x|
Still, this means The Jungle Book should finish with a domestic haul somewhere between $297m (a 2.87x like Alice) and $359m (a 3.47x like Maleficent).
A Note About the Title of This Article: I know, I know – The Jungle Book isn’t really a fairy tale. It’s just easier to lump all of Disney’s recent live-action remakes/adaptations into the “live-action fairy tale” catch-all category.