• Box Office

World Box Office December 9-15, 2019

Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level upped its gain and outperformed all forecasts with a $60.1 million in its domestic opening weekend. Previous series entry Welcome to the Jungle started at less than 2/3 of that in 2017, at $36.5 million, and went on to earn $404 million in the US and $962 million worldwide.

Overseas, Next Level added another $85.7 million this session and brought its foreign tally to $152.5 million. New market the UK started with $12.6 million while Russia opened to $8.9 million. China meanwhile fell sharply to $6 million after last week’s $24.7million opening. Combined global earning so far sits at $216 million and leads Welcome to the Jungle by 33% compared to this point in its release.

Next Level’s biggest worry going into the next frame will be how much room will be left for it when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on Friday. Back in 2017 Sony released Welcome to the Jungle a week after Disney’s December showstopper Star Wars: The Last Jedi and managed to position itself as powerful counterprogramming going into 2018.

Having a whale enter the market mid release could prove more difficult than finding space in a crowded pool and much will depend on both films’ reviews and audience reaction scores. So far this metric isn’t looking good for Jumanji, with critical reviews less favorable overall than for the previous. Cinemascore hasn’t released a rating yet but Rotten Tomatoes’ less empirical online polling shows Jumanji 3 even with Jumanji 2 at 87/100. Italy and Brazil are still on the calendar, with South America’s biggest market giving itself almost a full month for Star Wars to cool down before it opens there on January 16th.

More on the specialty side, Warner Bros.’ Clint Eastwood-directed Richard Jewell started with $5 million and in fourth place in the US. Paul Walker Hauser stars as the title character, a security guard who helped save lives during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing plot but subsequently had his name dragged through the mud by the media after the FBI mistakenly identified him as one of the prime suspects. Kathy Bates plays his wife Barbara, for which she picked up a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress nod, while Sam Rockwell plays Jewell’s Attorney. Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde also appear in the film. Warner is said to have spent around $45 million producing the film and looks set to take a loss. Critical and audience reactions were overwhelmingly positive, but a lack of Awards nods may be what keeps Richard Jewell from moving beyond its limited natural audience.

The next biggest domestic opener was Universal’s Black Christmas. It too had a less than positive start with $4.4 million in the US and $7.6 million worldwide. Cinemascore’s reaction poll was pretty bad for this film with audiences giving at an extremely rare D+ rating. It centers on a series of murders during the holidays in college sorority and frat houses. Being a Blumhouse production however, the budget was fairly low at $5 million and Universal may just get away with this one.

Next weekend, and likely the coming month, will belong to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker when it opens on Friday worldwide.