- “Jumanji: The Next Level” topped its predecessor, 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” at the domestic box office over the weekend.
- It succeeded in a year that plenty of other sequels, from “Dark Phoenix” to “Terminator: Dark Fate,” have flopped hard at the box office.
- Box-office experts say Sony was right to drop the movie this month despite a looming “Star Wars” movie.
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Sony Pictures’ “Jumanji: The Next Level” pulled off what’s been a difficult task in 2019: It topped its predecessor’s opening weekend at the box office with $US60 million domestically over the weekend.
“It looks like ‘Jumanji’ is immune to the so-called sequel or reboot ‘curse’ that has plagued many films this year and is set for a long run throughout the holidays and into 2020,” Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, told Business Insider. “‘The Next Level’ should perform much like its predecessor that similarly had a ‘Star Wars’ movie to contend with in the early weeks of its release and have solid long-term success.”
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” rebooted the 1995 classic starring Robin Williams with a $US36 million domestic debut. And with $US962 million globally and $US404.5 million domestically, “Welcome to the Jungle” was 2017’s fifth biggest movie in the world and the fourth biggest movie in North America.
A sequel was inevitable, but not a guaranteed success if this year’s box office was any indication. While there have been exceptions (i.e. “John Wick: Chapter 3” and most things Disney), sequels and reboots this year have flopped hard. Here are some examples:
- “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” grossed nearly $US200 million less than 2014’s “Godzilla.”
- “Dark Phoenix,” Fox’s final “X-Men” movie before joining Disney, was the lowest-grossing “X-Men” movie yet with just $US65 million domestically and $US252 million worldwide.
- “Men in Black: International” tanked with only $US80 million domestically and $US254 million globally.
- “It: Chapter Two” wasn’t a flop with $US472 million worldwide, but performed far worse than the first “It,” which earned $US700 million.
- “Terminator: Dark Fate” could put an end to the “Terminator” franchise after a measly $US258 million worldwide off of a nearly $US200 million production budget.
- And the “Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep” fizzled out at only $US70 million worldwide.
Sony avoided those movies’ fates by dropping “The Next Level” during a smart weekend, according to box-office experts. And “Welcome to the Jungle” also debuted the same month as a new “Star Wars” movie (then “The Last Jedi,” this time “The Rise of Skywalker”), which didn’t stop it from being a box-office powerhouse.
“[‘The Next Level’] has time to build audience enthusiasm and become a part, not a casualty, of what should be an enormous weekend for the box office when ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’ opens this week,” Dergarabedian said.
Jeff Bock, the Exhibitor Relations senior box-office analyst, said that family-friendly movies are in high demand during the holiday season and the positive response to “Welcome to the Jungle” helped its chances even further.
But the all-star cast doesn’t hurt, either. It includes Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a global superstar and Forbes’ highest-paid actor of the year.
“Big names [can still mean] big box office game,” Bock said. “It still works if you do it right.”
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