‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ was an unexpected smash and fans of that first movie turned out for the sequel, ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’, with it raking in $60.1M for its opening weekend. The audiences were a mix of ages and races, indicating that this brand has universal appeal. General audiences gave it 3½ stars out of five, with kids under 12 giving it four stars. Professional reviews aren’t great, with a middling 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This marks the biggest Sony domestic opening in the month of December, and the biggest comedy opening ever for December, not to mention the biggest live-action opening for Kevin Hart and Jack Black, as well as director Jake Kasdan.
Social media monitor RelishMix reports:
“There is a lot to like with Next Level, starting with the returning cast. The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan are all adored by family-friendly moviegoing audiences. And, for the most part, fans are liking the change of pace with the ‘something’s wrong with the game’ storyline. Even Ozzy Osbourne’s song featured in the trailer is getting some call-outs. All in all, the discussion leans heavily positive for a sequel that had such an entertaining predecessor – not to mention all the super-social cast returning and some new faces like Awkwafina added, too.”
‘Frozen 2’ and ‘Knives Out’ continue to perform strongly, as ‘Frozen 2’ has become the sixth Disney movie to cross $1 billion worldwide this year. But two newcomers are coming in well under projections. At #4 is the Clint Eastwood-directed true-life flick ‘Richard Jewell’, which took in an underwhelming $5M, while ‘Black Christmas’ landed at #5 with $4.4M. Those that saw ‘Richard Jewell’ were mighty impressed, giving it an A CinemaScore. That’s in spite of the controversy over the depiction of the deceased Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs (played by Olivia Wilde). There was hope that this film would gain awards recognition, but it is only getting moderate reviews– 76% on RT.
‘Black Christmas’ is a gift no one wanted. Audiences, who are typically kinder than critics, gave it 1½ stars and a D+. It’s RT score is 45%.
- Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony) – $60.1M
- Frozen 2 (Disney) – $19.1M
- Knives Out (Lionsgate/Media Rights) – $9.25M
- Richard Jewell (Warner Brothers) – $5M
- Black Christmas (Universal/Blumhouse) – $4.4M
‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ opened after ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, but this time around, Sony chose to release ‘The Next Level’ before ‘Star Wars’, so it remains to be seen if that plan works for them, and if ‘Jumanji’ can keep up, as ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ opens next week.
Also opening is ‘Cats’, which… I’m sure someone wants to see.
Obviously, ‘Star Wars’ will be #1 next week. The only question is how huge will it be? Check back to find out!