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‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Takes No. 1 as ‘Frozen II’ Nears $1 Billion

Sony sequel estimated to earn $50 million opening

Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” is earning a solid start on this pre-“Rise of Skywalker” weekend,” as it is currently estimated for a $50 million opening from 4,227 screens.

The previous “Jumanji” film, “Welcome to the Jungle,” opened on a Wednesday after the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and earned a 6-day opening of $71.9 million through Christmas Day. It went on to endure exceedingly well in theaters, grossing $404.5 million in North America and $962 million worldwide.

While “The Next Level” isn’t expected to match that total, Sony is hoping for a similar pattern among family audiences during its theatrical run. While a steep drop next weekend is expected thanks to “Star Wars,” the goal for “The Next Level” is to be the second film that family and general audiences go to during the holiday season. Critics have been fairly positive with a 67% Rotten Tomatoes score, and audience reception has been strong with an A- on CinemaScore and 3.5/5 on Postrak.

In second is Disney’s “Frozen II” with an estimated $19 million in its fourth weekend, which would push its total to $366 million. The Disney sequel headed into the weekend with a global total of $931 million, meaning it could become Disney’s sixth billion-dollar release of the year by the end of this weekend. Lionsgate’s “Knives Out” takes third with an estimated $9.1 million in its third weekend, giving it a $78.8 million total.

Completing the top five are two new releases that are both performing below pre-weekend projections: Universal/Blumhouse’s “Black Christmas” and Warner Bros.’ “Richard Jewell.” Both films are projected for a $4.5 million opening after being projected by trackers for a $10 million start.

While disappointing for both films, its mid-December release means that there’s still a chance for “Richard Jewell” to find success. Non-family audiences sometimes are slow to pick up holiday releases, and word of mouth could allow the Clint Eastwood to grab a footing towards the end of the month. Reviews have been solid for the film at 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, while Eastwood’s fans have driven the film to an A on CinemaScore. Success is far less likely for “Black Christmas,” which received 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and a poor D+ on CinemaScore.