Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star in Disney’s “Jungle Cruise.”
Walt Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” has sailed toward a better-than-expected $ 34.2 million opening at the national box office, despite growing concerns that a surge in coronavirus cases could keep families at home.
With an additional $ 27.6 million in international ticket sales, the film grossed $ 61.8 million worldwide during its first three days in theaters.
In pre-pandemic times, the opening of the film box office would be considered as a troubled start. After all, “Jungle Cruise” had a budget of $ 200 million. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, this debut is on par with previous successful releases.
Over the weekend, about 85% of North American theaters were open to the public, according to Comscore data – the most since March 2020. Worldwide, some markets continue to experience capacity limitations, and growing Covid homes have held up. very far from the crowded movies. theaters.
The film, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, also debuted on Disney + broadcast service for a fee of $ 30, validating $ 30 million in global sales over the weekend. “Jungle Cruise” is scheduled to be the last of Disney’s slates to be released using this method.
Disney’s decision to release films like “Cruella,” “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” using this strategy was taken in a moment of uncertainty. The studio continued long the release of major titles, but as coronavirus restrictions eased, vaccination rates increased and the industry began to rebound, Disney chose to debut new blockbusters simultaneously in theaters and through Disney + for $ 30. In this way the public who felt comfortable returning to the theaters could do so, but those who were not could watch from their living rooms.
In doing so, Disney won the wrath of the National Association of Theater Owners, which shut down the studio two weeks ago for the sale of tickets for the missing second week of “Black Widow,” as well as one of its own. biggest star, Scarlett Johansson, who is suing the studio for lost wages.
While “Black Widow” had the biggest opening of any film released during the pandemic, it’s clear that its streaming release has eaten into box office profits. With the audience able to review “Black Widow” at Disney +, the film does not receive a boost from people returning to theaters to see the film again.
Also, because “Black Widow” was released in the home market while it was in theaters, pirates had access to a high-quality version of the film. This has increased the illegal viewing of the film and is partly responsible for the steady decline in box office performances.
“Jungle Cruise” may have a similar fate.