This past week, the ongoing war between theatrical and digital added a surprising and huge new wrinkle. Scarlett Johansson has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company, and at the center of the whole conflict is the studio's decision to release Cate Shortland's Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ (via Premier Access) simultaneously. The case should wind up having some massive implications when it comes to the battle between the big screen and streaming, and in the months ahead it's a development we'll be keeping a close eye on – but this week we have another example of Disney putting out a hybrid release with Jaume Collet-Serra's Jungle Cruise, and once again the results are a tad mixed.
Check out the full Top 10 chart, and join me below for analysis!
|1.||Jungle Cruise*||$34,181,000||Total: $34,181,000||
|2.||The Green Knight*||$6,784,000||Total: $6,784,000||
|4.||Black Widow||$6,426,000||Total: $167,066,862||
|6.||Space Jam: A New Legacy||$4,265,000||Total: $60,739,000||
|7.||Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins||$4,000,000||Total: $22,282,544||
|9.||Escape Room 2||$2,200,000||Total: $20,551,732||
|10.||The Boss Baby: Family Business||$1,300,000||Total: $53,467,240||
When Black Widow was released in early July, the audience split between domestic cinemas and at-home viewing favored the former ($80 million vs. $60 million), but the numbers are now in for the latest Disney+ Premier Access title, and Jungle Cruise has performed basically evenly in both distribution models. As you can see above, the studio is reporting that $34.2 million was brought in via ticket sales in North American theaters, and it has been announced that the film made approximately $30 million online. This suggests that movie-goers were a bit more inclined to watch Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt's theme park ride-inspired adventure in their living rooms/bedrooms compared to the latest title from the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and that may be an important thing to keep in mind as tracking continues in the weeks ahead.
What Disney needs to be concerned about is a massive second week drop-off, which is something we have seen a few times this summer (both Black Widow and Justin Lin's F9 fell 67 percent in their sophomore weekends, and last week we saw Malcolm D. Lee's Space Jam: A New Legacy fall 69 percent. The heavy suggestion to be taken from the day-and-date theatrical/streaming release titles is that anyone really excited to see the film in its opening weekend will head to the big screen, but that those willing to wait are going to opt for the more convenient option. If Jungle Cruise is already seeing about half of its audience already opting for the few clicks on a remote instead of a trip to the local cineplex, that may spell trouble in its next Friday-to-Sunday.
We'll also have to wait and how Jungle Cruise's performance in foreign markets winds up bolstering its box office performance. Disney is reporting that the movie has thus far made $27.6 million overseas... and it's hard not to notice that number is considerably smaller than the $40 million estimate by Deadline late last week. It should be noted that the movie did outpace the trade's conservative domestic prognostication (they predicted a $25 million start), but the actual sum total taken in from global theatrical release is still about $4 million short of what was expected.
At the end of the day will Disney be able to call Jungle Cruise a win? It's a bit hard to say. There have been expressed high hopes that this film would be a success on the level of fellow theme park ride adaptation Pirates Of The Caribbean, but there has long been question about whether or not that would even be possible. Having gone through production in 2018 with a $200 million-plus budget (according to The Hollywood Reporter), the movie was originally slated to be released in October 2019, but then it got shifted to 2020 and got caught up in the constantly evolving COVID-19 scheduled shuffle (and you can be sure that all of those delays have added to the marketing and publicity costs). Taking all that into consideration, and then looking at the $90 million total it made in the last three days, it certainly seems to have a long road ahead of it.
Those Jungle Cruise figures are a bit of a bummer, but there are some bright spots to be seen in this weekend's Top 10 chart. For example, you may have noticed that this is only the second weekend since the start of the pandemic that we have seen at least 10 films make more than $1 million (the last time was over the July 4th holiday). As far as the overall health of the industry goes, that's something to celebrate, especially because what's featured in the box above is a list of very diverse titles.
On that note, David Lowery's The Green Knight managed to make a nice splash in its first weekend, managing to just barely outpace M. Night Shyamalan's Old and take second place with $6.8 million earned in ticket sales domestically. It's not exactly a record setter, but it is one of the best single weekend performances on the big screen by an A24 film, putting it in the same league as Ari Aster's Midsommar and Hereditary, and Josh and Benny Safdie's Uncut Gems. Despite its impressive scale and beautiful design, the new release cost less than $22.5 million to make, so it will be interesting to follow in upcoming weeks and see what kind of legs it shows. It has received very positive reviews, and we'll have to wait and see if/how that translates to buzz.
Coming in last among the new releases and in fifth place overall is Tom McCarthy's Stillwater. The movie was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival a few months ago, but it doesn't appear that it's play to be counterprogramming to Jungle Cruise alongside The Green Knight has quite worked out. It performed up to trade predictions, and it's playing in fewer locations than its direct competitors, but it's still a middle-of-the-pack result. Given McCarthy's award season cred, having earned an Oscar for 2016's Spotlight, would it have been better suited as a fall release? It's possible, though the schedule for the fall season is definitely packed tight with big films.
On the subject of looking ahead, this Friday will see the arrival of this summer's latest big blockbuster, as James Gunn is set unleash The Suicide Squad (both in theaters and on HBO Max). How will it perform, and what will its presence do to all of the other movies currently playing on the big screen? Be sure to come back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to find out.