Disney film arrived in theaters and on Disney+ amid Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit and rising COVID-19 numbers
Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” the latest film to get an experimental hybrid release in theaters and on Disney+’s “Premier Access” service, had an opening weekend that was very much a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, the film’s $34 million opening in domestic theaters was above projections for a $25 million start, and the film’s $30 million global revenue from premium paid streaming shows that Disney is getting some traction with Disney+ subscribers willing to pay extra to see new movies at home. But with a $200 million budget, “Jungle Cruise” seems unlikely to yield any profit for Disney from its initial run.
We did see some box office trends continue to play out. Here are five takeaways from this weekend:
1. The hybrid release model is helping Disney.
Scarlett Johansson, the star of “Black Widow,” has joined the National Association of Theater Owners in voicing frustration over Disney’s decision to release tentpole movies like hers in theaters and paid streaming, suing Disney last week on claims that the hybrid release model for “Black Widow” cost her as much as $50 million in box office-related bonuses.
But despite the legal troubles and messy headlines, Disney is standing behind its release strategy, continuing to stress the importance of remaining flexible as COVID-19 has stretched out this current period of uncertainty at the global box office. Paid streaming accounted for 27.5% of the global opening weekend of “Black Widow,” and made up at least one-third of global grosses for “Jungle Cruise.”
“’Jungle Cruise’ is the perfect summer adventure film, bringing a beloved theme park attraction to both the big screen and living rooms in a way that only Disney can,” Disney said in a statement on Sunday. “We remain focused on offering consumer choice during these unprecedented times, and it is clear that fans and families value the ability to make decisions on how they prefer to enjoy Disney’s best-in-class storytelling.”