LOS ANGELES (AP) – â€œJumanji: The Next Levelâ€ puts â€œFrozen 2â€ on second-place ice, while Clint Eastwoodâ€™s â€œRichard Jewellâ€ opened with one of the worst box office debuts for the director.
The Sony film starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart brought in $60.1 million in the U.S. and Canada to break a three-day record for a comedy in December for the production company. The sequel is a followup to 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which grossed $962 million worldwide.
A week before it opened in North America, Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level” debuted in 18 international countries where it made $52.5 million. The film was Hart’s first film release since the actor-comedy suffered a serious back injury after his vintage muscle car he was riding in crashed in California in September.
â€œPeople were like â€˜Another reboot’ of a well-known franchise, but the movie delivered so well on the promise of the marketing, and the whole concept of the movie just resonated with audiences,â€ said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the box office tracker Comscore. â€œIt’s going to play well in the long haul.â€
â€œFrozen 2â€ dropped to second place with $19.2 million domestically after claiming top box office spot for three straight weeks, earning $367 million since its Nov. 22 release. The animated film following the adventures of Anna and Elsa crossed the $1 billion mark globally to become Disney Animation’s third billion-dollar project along with â€œFrozenâ€ and â€œZootopia.â€ It also became Walt Disney Studio’s sixth billion-dollar release in 2019.
â€œRichard Jewellâ€ landed at No. 4, bringing in $5 million. The film took aim at the media and federal investigators for what he sees as a rush to judgment after the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta.
The 89-year-old Eastwood calls Jewellâ€™s story â€œa great American tragedy.â€ The docudrama focuses on Jewell, who was initially hailed as a hero for finding a bomb at the event held at Centennial Olympic Park and clearing bystanders from the area.
One person was killed and 111 were injured when the bomb exploded.
Jewell likely helped prevent many more casualties, but within a few days was reported to be the focus of the FBI investigation, and the public quickly turned on him. He was cleared three months later after his life had been upended by the investigation and public scrutiny.
The film fell under immense scrutiny from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which objected to the movieâ€™s portrayal of the late journalist Kathy Scruggs, who seemingly sleeps with an FBI agent.
Olivia Wilde, who plays Scruggs, posted a series of tweets on Thursday that she does not believe the real-life journalist â€œtraded sex for tipsâ€ despite the insinuation in the movie.
Despite the low numbers, Dergarabedian believes â€œRichard Jewellâ€ could build a larger audience over time.
â€œIf history tells us anything, movies like this generally are a slow burn at this time of the year,â€ he said. â€œBut also, let’s think about this too. Because it’s Clint Eastwood, there’s always a certain level of expectation placed on any movie. Often those expectations are overblown a bit. Given the subject matter, it’s aimed at a mature audience. I don’t know if you could expect like â€˜Richard Jewellâ€™ to open $20-$30 million. It’s what you should expect from an adult drama.â€
Eastwood’s drug smuggling drama â€œThe Muleâ€ debuted with more than $17.2 million late last year.
Along with â€œRichard Jewell,â€ Paramount’s “Black Christmas” put up sub-par debut numbers to open at No. 5. The 1974 slasher film remake from Universal pulled in only $4.42 million.
â€œIt’s a very crowded marketplace right now,â€ Dergarabedian said. â€œObviously, â€˜Jumanjiâ€™ had so much broad-based appeal that it cut into everybody’s audiences.â€
The Rian Johnson-directed “Knives Outâ€ continues to lean on strong social media buzz to land at No. 3, bringing in $9.2 million. The well-reviewed, innovative whodunit film starring Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Evans has earned back its budget last week, and now has grossed $78 million.
Next weekend, the box office is expected to be significantly busier with the release of â€œStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,â€ â€œCatsâ€ and the expanded release of â€œBombshell,â€ starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie.
â€œUncut Gems,â€ starring Adam Sandler, will also expand nationwide next week, but opened in a select five theaters Friday to earn more than $525,000. The thriller focuses on a charismatic New York jeweler, played by Sandler, who is looking for the next big score in a series of high-stake bets.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. â€œJumanji: The Next Level,â€ $60.1 million.
2. â€œFrozen 2,â€ $19.1 million.
3. â€œKnives Out,â€ $9.2 million.
4. â€œRichard Jewell,â€ $5 million.
5. â€œBlack Christmas,â€ $4.42 million.
6. â€œFord v Ferrari,â€ $4.1 million.
7. â€œQueen & Slim,” $3.6 million.
8. â€œA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” $3.3 million.
9. â€œDark Waters,â€ $2 million.
10. â€œ21 Bridges,” $1.1 million.