Box Office: 'Jungle Cruise' Tops Friday With $13.4 Million

Jungle Cruise DisneyDwayne Johnson, Emily Blunts Jungle Cruise are likely to open with $32million but could (if it legs as Rampage or Jumanji The Next Level), reach a $40 million Fri/Sun debut.With $13.378 Million, Walt Disney's Jungle Cruise easily won the domestic box office. This is likely to result in a weekend that exceeds or under $32 million, with a decent enough 2.42x weekend multiplier. Normal times would see $32 million as a disappointment for the $200 million Dwayne and Emily Johnson action fantasy. This one will likely be evaluated on a stronger Covid curve, due to the fact that pandemic-specific conditions are not improving after the widespread presence of a more contagious Delta variant (and an enormous volume of Americans who refuse to be vaccinated).Yes, Jungle Cruise's $32 million opening would have been a disappointment, just like Space Jam: A New Legacy, which had a $31 million debut two week ago. But, I think it would have done better in normal circumstances. Normal times, a reasonably-reviewed (63 percent fresh and 6/10 Rotten Tomatoes) Walt Disney live action adventure movie starring two child-friendly and popular movie stars and based upon a famously entertaining theme park ride that offered at least the promise of Mummy/Pirates of the Caribbean style thrills would be a good sell.Snake Eyes, even in non-Covid times and in a traditional theatrical setting, was always likely to fail. Space Jam: A New Legacy was also a commercial risk. Heck, I would say the exact same thing about The Suicide Squad (five years later sequel to a slightly less liked smash hit that lacks many of the elements that drove people to see it in first place). But we'll see if the sky-high reviews can help move the needle next weekend. Jungle Cruise could have made $50 million if it had opened without Disney+ Premier Access or Covid as originally planned. This might have been Disney's first live-action Disney franchise since 2004's National Treasure.But, I'm not completely down on the film's commercial prospects because Jumanji The Next Level and Rampage both earned higher-than-expected weekend multipliers. The sequel for kids opened with $59million from a Friday of $19 million in late 2019, while the videogame adaptation made $35.7 million from a Friday of $11.5 million in early 2018. I would also include Kong: Skull Island ($59 million from a $19 million Friday in late 2019 while the video game adaptation notched a $35.7 million debut from a soft $11.5 million Friday in early 2018.Another reason I'm not ready to be all doom and gloom is that Disneys recent theatrical releases are extremely leggy, despite Black Widow being a notable exception. Raya and The Last Dragon is not a hit but has made $54.7 million domestic (6.4x) from a $8.5 million Frisun debut. Cruella is performing well, but not as well as it would under normal circumstances. Cruella has earned $85 million domestic since its $26.5 million Fri. Mon. Memorial Day weekend launch. This is the last big Disney event until Shang-Chi, which will be August 13.It will be interesting to see if Disney releases their Premier Access platform's first weekend revenue ($30 to rent the film if you are a Disney+ subscriber), since I doubt they would without the Scarlett Johansson suit. Jungle Cruise is a movie that I think was more successful than many of the other big summer movies. The quarantined families spent part of last years watching the films (The Mummy and Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean etc.). Jungle Cruise was inspired by this mentality. But ask me again tomorrow.