Dwayne Johnson’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” took in a solid $4.7 million at the Thursday previews, on its way to a $35 million opening weekend.
The first film, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” had an opening weekend of $35 million on a $90 million budget. Sony is projecting the sequel to open to $35 million as well — the film’s budget was $125 million.
To compare, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” took in $2 million when it had early showings on the Tuesday night before a Wednesday opening in 2017. Another good comparison is Johnson’s “Rampage,” also based on a game, that made $2.4 million on Thursday night before it opened to $35.7 million.
“Jumanji: The Next Level” stars Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. Jake Kasdan directs. Its Rotten Tomatoes score is 69%.
Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” is also hitting theaters this weekend, following debate about the portrayal of a female journalist in the film. “Richard Jewell” stars Paul Walter Hauser, Kathy Bates, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm, in a story that tells the true story of the Atlanta bombing, and what happens when the media and the FBI take the wrong suspect to trial.
The film comes a year after Eastwood released another box office hit at the age of 88 with “The Mule,” which opened to $17 million and grossed $174 million worldwide against a $50 million budget. “Richard Jewell,” meanwhile, is projected for an opening weekend in the $10-11 million range.
Also opening this weekend is Universal and Blumhouse’s “Black Christmas,” a remake of the 1974 cult film about a serial killer who attacks a sorority during the holidays. The studio is expected a $10 to $12 million opening weekend. Takal, who co-wrote the screenplay with April Wolfe, is the first female director of a Blumhouse horror film.
In her updated take on “Black Christmas,” the sorority sisters become a quartet of fighters ready to battle to their would-be murderer to the death. Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, and Brittany O’Grady star with Cary Elwes, and the film currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes score of 42%.
Two awards-buzzy films are also going wide this weekend: Adam Sandler’s “Uncut Gems” and Charlize Theron’s “Bombshell.” “Uncut Gems” was written and directed by the Safdie brothers and also stars LaKeith Stanfield and Idina Menzel.
“Bombshell” also stars John Lithgow, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie, and it was directed by Jay Roach.