Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star in Disney’s Jungle Cruise.
Walt Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” sailed to a better than expected $ 34.2 million box office opening, despite growing concerns that a surge in coronavirus cases could keep families home.
With an additional $ 27.6 million in international ticket sales, the film garnered $ 61.8 million worldwide during the first three days of cinema.
In pre-pandemic times, the movie’s box office opening would be viewed as a choppy start. After all, Jungle Cruise had a budget of $ 200 million. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, this debut is on par with previous blockbuster releases.
Around 85% of North American cinemas were open to the public over the weekend, according to Comscore – most since March 2020. Globally, some markets continue to have capacity limits, and rising Covid cases have kept many away from overcrowded theaters.
The film, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, also debuted on Disney’s streaming service Disney + for a fee of $ 30 and had worldwide sales of $ 30 million over the weekend. “Jungle Cruise” is expected to be the last of Disney’s slate to be released using this method.
Disney’s decision to use this strategy to release films like “Cruella”, “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” came at a time of uncertainty. The studio long held back from releasing big titles, but as coronavirus restrictions eased, vaccination rates rose, and the industry recovered, Disney decided to launch new blockbusters simultaneously in theaters and via Disney + for $ 30 . That way, viewers who happily returned to the cinema could do so, while those who didn’t could watch from their living room.
Disney won the wrath of the National Association of Theater Owners, who denounced the studio two weeks ago for lackluster ticket sales for “Black Widow” in the second week, as well as one of its biggest stars, Scarlett Johansson, who are suing the studio for lost wages.
While “Black Widow” had the largest opening of any movie released during the pandemic, it’s clear that its streaming release has been eating up the box office profits. Because audiences can watch “Black Widow” again on Disney +, the movie isn’t getting a boost from people returning to theaters to watch the movie again.
Since “Black Widow” has already been released in theaters on the domestic market, pirates have access to a high-quality version of the film. This has increased the number of illegal viewings of the film and is partly responsible for the steady decline in box office performance.
“Jungle Cruise” is likely to have a similar fate.