Walt Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” sailed to a better-than-expected opening of $34.2 million at the domestic box office, despite growing concerns that a wave of coronavirus cases could keep families at home.
With an additional $27.6 million in international ticket sales, the film grossed $61.8 million worldwide in its first three days in theaters.
In pre-pandemic times, the box office opening of the film would be seen as a rocky start. After all, “Jungle Cruise” had a budget of $200 million. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, this debut is similar to previous blockbuster releases.
Over the weekend, about 85% of North American theaters were open to the public, according to data from Comscore — the most since March 2020. Globally, some markets continue to experience capacity limits, and rising Covid cases have kept many away from crowded movie theaters.
The film, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, also debuted on Disney’s streaming service Disney+ at a cost of $30, representing $30 million in worldwide sales over the weekend. “Jungle Cruise” is expected to be the last of Disney’s slate to be released using this method.
Disney’s decision to release movies like “Cruella”, “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” with this strategy was taken at a time of uncertainty. The studio has long delayed releasing major titles, but as coronavirus restrictions eased, vaccination rates rose and the industry began to bounce back, Disney chose to debut new blockbusters simultaneously in theaters and via Disney+ for $30. audiences who felt comfortable returning to the theaters could do so, but those who were not could watch from their living rooms.
With this, Disney earned the ire of the National Association of Theater Owners, who criticized the studio two weeks ago for Black Widow’s lackluster ticket sales in its second week, as well as one of its biggest stars, Scarlett Johansson, who is suing the studio for lost wages. .
While “Black Widow” had the biggest opening of any movie released during the pandemic, it’s clear that the streaming release has hurt box office profits. Now that audiences can rewatch “Black Widow” on Disney+, the film isn’t getting a boost from people returning to the cinema to see the film again.
Since “Black Widow” was released on the home market while it is in theaters, pirates have access to a high-quality version of the film. This has led to an increase in illegal viewings of the film and is partly responsible for the steady decline in box office performance.
“Jungle Cruise” is likely to suffer a similar fate.