Disney has long been the king when it comes to animated features, but when it comes to big budget live action tentpoles, the studio has been plagued by a string of costly flops like ‘Tron Legacy’, ‘John Carter‘, ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘Tomorrowland‘.  But the House of Mouse seems to have embraced its true strength, making live action versions of its animated classics.  And it looks like their newest, Jon Favreau’s ‘The Jungle Book’ may be the one to top them all.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore expressed:

“This is a flat-out stunner. No one expected that ‘The Jungle Book’ would make this much — the projections just continued to build throughout the weekend.  And this wasn’t just playing for kids and families. It played to audiences across the board like an action adventure.”

‘The Jungle Book’ took in $103.6 million, making it the second highest April debut ever, just falling short of last year’s ‘Furious 7’.  It has a 95% positive critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore and the audiences seem equally divided between young and old, male and female.  (Those under 18 and over 50 gave the film an A+ ranking.)  At this point, ‘The Jungle Book’ is trending to top previous hits like ‘Maleficent’, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘Cinderella‘ as well as ‘Oz the Great and Powerful‘ (although that one isn’t based on a Disney animated film).  Disney has already greenlit a sequel with Favreau returning to direct.

The almost entirely CGI film stars Neel Sethi as Mowgli with the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsly, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken and in his last performance, the late Gary Shandling.

Here is the rest of the Top Five:

  1. The Jungle Book (Disney) – $103.6M
  2. Barbershop: The Next Cut (Warner Brothers) – $20.2M
  3. The Boss (Universal) – $10.17M
  4. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Brothers) – $9M
  5. Zootopia (Disney) – $8.23M

Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ managed to hang on to the Top Five, even with ‘The Jungle Book’ opening.  ‘Zootopia’ is in its seventh weekend and has now crossed the $300M mark domestically.

Also receiving great reviews and an A- CinemaScore was Ice Cube’s ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’, the third in the franchise which kicked off back in 2002.  (Fourth if you count the Queen Latifah spin-off ‘Beauty Shop’.)  The comedy overcame last week’s #1 movie, the Melissa McCarthy-starring ‘The Boss’ which got considerably more mediocre reviews and audience reactions.

As for ‘Batman V Superman‘ its weekend grosses actually dipped into the single digit millions.

Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations said:

“It just shows people are not enamored with ‘Batman v Superman’ and are not returning for repeat viewings.  Warner Bros. didn’t deliver the product that audiences expected or wanted. Even without superhero competition, this movie just cannot find a foothold.”

Next week’s big offering, ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War‘ is already playing in some foreign markets and grossed $17.6M.  It has NOT gotten good reviews and the first film, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ opened big and quickly dropped off.  Filmgoers may be drawn by the splashy visuals displayed in the trailer, but at this point, it may not be attractive enough to lure viewers away from ‘The Jungle Book’.

Check back to see how things work out.

Source: USA Today