‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Scores Strong $60 Million Opening

Dwayne Johnson sequel now lined up for long theatrical run despite “Star Wars” competition

Jumanji Next Level

Sony/Columbia/Seven Bucks’ “Jumanji: The Next Level” is off to a robust start at the box office with a $60.1 million opening weekend from 4,227 screens, the highest opening ever in December for a Sony or comedy release.

This result also sets a new personal opening record for director Jake Kasdan and stars Jack Black and Kevin Hart, and also sets a new opening record for Dwayne Johnson as a producer. Johnson co-produced the film through his Seven Bucks Productions alongside Dany and Hiram Garcia.

“The Next Level” surpasses the first five days of grosses for the film’s predecessor, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” That film opened on the Wednesday prior to Christmas in 2017, grossing $52.7 million in five days and $71.9 million after Christmas Day before going on to gross $404.5 million domestically and $962 million overall.

Globally, “The Next Level” has grossed $213 million with $85.7 million grossed from 52 overseas markets this weekend. So far, it is 33% ahead of the pace that “Welcome to the Jungle” grossed from the same group of markets.

It is still difficult to see “The Next Level” keeping this pace to pass the overall totals of “Welcome to the Jungle,” especially considering that it will face heavy competition next week from the release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” But even if totals for the film drop drastically in its second weekend, Sony’s ultimate goal is to build word of mouth for a long theatrical run as the second film of choice for audiences after “Star Wars” during the holiday season. “Jumanji” is on its way to achieving that goal, earning an A- on CinemaScore and a 3.5/5 on Postrak.

In second is “Frozen II,” which has become Disney’s sixth release in 2019 to gross $1 billion worldwide and the third release from Walt Disney Animation Studios to reach that mark. The sequel grossed $19.2 million domestically in its fourth weekend along with $55.7 million overseas, bringing its total to $1.03 billion. It is now $240 million shy of the $1.27 million grossed by the first “Frozen” six years ago.

Lionsgate’s “Knives Out,” which earned three Golden Globe nominations this past week, is in third with $9.25 million grossed in its third weekend, bringing its domestic total to just under $79 million and its international total to $162.2 million.

Completing the Top 5 are two films that are underperforming among adult audiences: Warner Bros.’ “Richard Jewell” and Universal/Blumhouse’s “Black Christmas,” both of which were projected for $10 million openings but are failing to pass $5 million.

“Richard Jewell” is in fourth with a $4.7 million opening from 2,502 screens. While the true story drama has earned strong word of mouth with an A on CinemaScore and 73% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it now stands as the lowest ever wide opening in Clint Eastwood‘s directorial career. The last opening from Eastwood this low was the 1997 movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” with a $5.2 million start. “Richard Jewell” will have to hope that Eastwood’s popularity among older male audiences will allow it to leg out during the holiday season as a blockbuster alternative.

A lengthy run is unlikely for “Black Christmas,” which opened to $4.4 million from 2,625 screens but has been received poorly with a 43% Rotten Tomatoes score and a D+ on CinemaScore. Blumhouse’s budget strategy will keep the film out of the red, as it was produced on a $5 million budget.