Nearly a dozen new movies opened in theaters over Christmas week last year. Some flopped (Father Figures). Others flourished (The Greatest Showman). And yet others still haven’t made their way to the rest of the country. Seriously, Phantom Thread, what’s the hold-up?
However, no film has prospered over this period quite like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Sony’s perfectly balanced just-right-for-adults/just-right-for-kids action-comedy starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black. In fact, no film in history has done as well over Christmas week and beyond as Jumanji. Quick, to the record books!
Domestic Gross of Movies Released Either on Christmas Day or a Day or Two Before Christmas
- Sherlock Holmes – $209m
- Sing – $270m
- Meet the Fockers – $279m
- Jumanji – $291m
On top of that, Jumanji now has $674m worldwide, which is also a record for a movie released over Christmas week, surpassing Sing’s $634m. That Jumanji and Sing would each enjoy such boffo, historic biz over the same release period in back-to-back years suggests that the rising tide of Star Wars might just be lifting all ships, or at least those ships which offer similar family-friendly entertainment.
To be clear, all this talk of records might be confusing because hold on, isn’t $291m chump change compared to what Force Awakens/Rogue One/Last Jedi have put up? Yes, but those all came out a full week before Christmas. Same goes for Peter Jackson’s two Tolkien trilogies and James Cameron’s Avatar. So, if we were simply talking about movies that came out in December Jumanji wouldn’t even crack the top 5 all-time, at least not yet. However, among those movies built around an actual Christmas day (or a day or two before Christmas) release, no one’s done it better than Jumanji.
It’s a huge win for Sony, which made a mid-budget ($90m) bet on director Jake Kasdan’s vision of a new Jumanji updated for the video game age and ended up with the biggest domestic hit in studio history outside of the Spider-Man or James Bond franchises. Actually, give it a couple of days and Jumanji will even pass James Bond’s previous domestic high, Skyfall’s $301m. Considering that Sony just lost the domestic rights to the next Bond movie to Annapurna and had to lean on Marvel Studios to save Spider-Man last summer, everyone over there really needed this. At last, a clean-cut hit, and in all likelihood a new franchise to call their own.
So, for the sequel, right, I’m thinking mobile. Let’s have some players sucked into their cell phones this time. Whatever they do, can there please be more of Karen Gillan’s dance fighting? Awesome and hilarious at the same time.