Disney’s “The Jungle Book” will rule the box office this weekend, but analysts and the studio hardly agree on exactly how much money it will make.
Analysts are predicting a $70 million to $80 million opening for the film, but the studio is projecting a more conservative number that falls in the mid-to-high-$60 million range when “The Jungle Book” debuts in 4,028 theaters this weekend.
Either way, Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told TheWrap, “The box office beat of the drums is going to be particularly strong for ‘The Jungle Book.'”
“I think we’re looking at upwards of an $80 million debut,” said Bock, who cites the sensational reviews and the absence of any other family film from theaters in “what seems like ages.”
“This is going to loom large,” he added. “Very large.”
The live-action “Jungle Book” will play in 3,100 3D locations and on 376 IMAX screens, with previews beginning on Thursday at 7 p.m. With a budget of $175 million, the film debuted at the No. 1 spot in several Asian and Latin American markets last weekend, for a total of $31.7 million.
Should the Jon Favreau-directed movie hit the $80 million mark, it will surpass Disney’s most recent success of “Zootopia,” which grossed $75 million on its first weekend. “The Jungle Book” would also then be the third-best opener of the year, behind “Batman v Superman” at $166 million and “Deadpool” at $132.4 million.
Disney’s other live-action takes on classic tales include “Cinderella,” which debuted to $67.9 million last year and went on to gross $201 million domestically, and 2014’s “Maleficent,” which opened to $69.4 million and ended up reaching $241.4 million in North America.
“The Jungle Book” is based on Rudyard Kipling’s stories about Mowgli, an abandoned boy who gets raised by wolves and a black panther named Bagheera. Disney released an animated version in 1967. The 2016 film stars Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli.
The film currently boasts a 96 percent score from movie reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The Jungle Book” also doesn’t have strong competition this weekend. Ice Cube‘s “Barbershop: The Next Cut” is opening, with analysts projecting a gross in the low-to-mid-$20 million range for the third film in the franchise. The original 2002 film debuted to $20.6 million, and its 2004 sequel opened with $24.2 million.
Both “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and Melissa McCarthy‘s “The Boss” were neck and neck last week, with the latter grossing $23.6 million on its opening weekend, beating “BvS,” which was on its third weekend, by roughly $240,000. Both are expected to drop another 50 percent this round.