Jumanji 2’ to break ‘Frozen 2’s streak with strong $40m opening

The Christmas period gets hectic with 3 new releases all vying for a top 10 finish. Leading is ‘Jumanji 2’, which hopes to best the $36m opening of its predecessor for top spot. Standing in its way is ‘Richard Jewell’ and ‘Black Christmas’, as well as ‘Frozen 2’, which will become only the 9th animation to break the $1bn barrier.

So, what’s opening this weekend?

Jumanji: The Next Level’, the follow-up to 2017’s smash hit ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’, opens in the U.S. this weekend with hopes to emulate its predecessor’s success. Its 1st task is beating ‘Jumanji’s $36.2m opening, which gave way to an incredible $404.5m domestically, and $962.1m worldwide.

Outside of ‘Star Wars’, no film has opened to over $100m in December, with the festive period predominantly known for providing legs (‘Jumanji’ boasted an incredible 11.2x multiplier). It’ll be no surprise then that although ‘Jumanji 2’ comes off the back of fanfare, solid reviews, and the addition of stars Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, and Danny Glover (alongside Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black), is only tracking to around $40m.

The film opens in over 4,000 cinemas and also boasts an increased budget of $125m, and although hopes of emulating ‘Jumanji’s legs are fruitless (the film’s 2nd weekend drop of +38% was the 4th smallest ever), Sony likely have another hit on their hands, with a forecasted domestic opening of $43m joining the strong $53m international start.

AFI Fest release ‘Richard Jewell’, based on the true story of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing, looks to make a strong start at the Box Office while staking its claim as a serious awards contender. Although earning only 1 Golden Globe nomination (Kathy Bates as Supporting Actress), the Clint Eastwood-directed flick will hope its predicted $11m start is enough to keep it in running for an Oscar.

It’s a hit with the critics, boasting 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Eastwood’s producing and director credit will surely lend a helping hand. Also in the background as producers are Leo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, who were originally planned to star in the film, before Paul Walter Hauser (‘I, Tonya’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’) and Sam Rockwell were brought in. It stands as viable counter-programming to ‘Jumanji 2’, and will hope to draw the older crowds away from the adventure-flick.

Finally, this weekend sees the opening of Blumhouse’s ‘Black Christmas’ in over 2,000 cinemas. It marks the 2nd remake of 1974 slasher horror, and stars Imogen Poots and Cary Elwes. Make no mistake, its Friday 13th opening date is no coincidence, and the film will hope to draw on the supernatural to better its predicted $9m opening, although when compared to its $5m budget, such a start can’t be frowned upon.

What else is on?

After a hattrick of #1 finishes, ‘Frozen 2’ will relinquish the crown, earning $21m in its 4th weekend. It’s a gross that marks just a 40% drop, and also should push the film to a near-$365m domestic total, which will be the 10th largest for an animation in U.S. history. It’ll also sit as the 6th largest domestic film of the year, as well as the 8th film of the year to break the $1bn mark.

Rank Last Week’s Rank Film STUDIO Budget JUMPCUT’s prediction Weekend drop Week no.
1 New! Jumanji: The Next Level Sony $125m $43m 1
2 1 Frozen 2 Disney $150m $21.1m -40.0% 4
3 New! Richard Jewell Warner Bros $11m 1
4 New! Black Christmas Universal $5m $9m 1
5 2 Knives Out Lionsgate $40m $8.4m -40.9% 3
6 4 Queen & Slim Universal $20m $4.1m -38.3% 3
7 3 Ford v. Ferrari Fox-Disney $98m $4m -39.9% 5
8 5 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony $25m $3.4m -34.6% 4
9 6 Dark Waters Focus Features $2.5m -37.4% 4
10 7 21 Bridges STX Entertainment $33m $1.6m -44.2% 4