‘Jungle Cruise’ Beats Box-Office Expectations as ‘Old’ Plummets. How Is This PVOD’s Fault?

·5 min read

The National Association of Theater Owners blamed the disappointing performance of “Black Widow” on its same-day $29.99 availability for Disney+ customers. Of course, home platforms take some revenue away from theaters. Enough to blame it for underperforming opening weekends and the precipitous drops that often follow? Evidence increasingly shows that’s not the case.

The $200 million-budgeted “Jungle Cruise” opened to $34.2 million domestic, an impressively strong result when tracking suggested $25 million, and a studio-reported $30 million in Premium VOD revenue via Disney+ subscribers worldwide. No breakdown was given for PVOD, but the Disney+ viewership is much bigger in North America.

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For “Jungle Cruise,” Saturday was down 9 percent from opening day. For “Black Widow” — also on Disney+ PVOD — the drop was 41 percent. Reaching back to the pre-PVOD opening days of summer 2019, Disney’s family-friendly “The Lion King” saw a 22 percent Saturday drop.

Last weekend saw the debut of two theater exclusives with “Old” (Universal) and “Snake Eyes” (Paramount); this weekend, they fell 60 and 70 percent, respectively. “Black Widow” fell 68 percent in its second weekend. None of this fingers PVOD as the villain responsible for the Marvel title’s fall.

PVOD has an impact, but that parallel play also gives theaters better deals on film rentals.

Overall gross this weekend will be around $77 million, a slight improvement over last weekend’s $71 million. Of note here is the Olympics — or rather, how the Olympics didn’t figure into this week’s results. Studios traditionally steer films around the two-week global impact, but Disney took the chance on seeing Olympic viewership decline. It’s possible that it may have been a greater factor overseas; in foreign territories (China and some other Asian countries not yet playing), “Jungle Cruise” totaled $27.6 million (with the same home play option in most places, but not all). Covid issues, including greater restrictions, also were a factor.

“Old” - Credit: ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection
“Old” - Credit: ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

This weekend’s $77 million represents 53 percent of the same 2019 date. On a rolling four-week basis, it stands at 55 percent. That’s a slight improvement from last week’s 53 percent.

Two wide releases from specialized distributors placed in the top five. David Lowery’s “The Green Knight” (A24), a retelling of the medieval Sir Gawain legend, currently stands at #2 with nearly $6.8 million. Typical of many A24 wide-play films, it both had terrific reviews and bad audience response (C+ Cinemascore). It leads “Old” by under $100,000 for totals through Saturday, but the Universal film was $600,000 ahead yesterday, and still could end up at #2.

Stillwater” (Focus) with Matt Damon managed $5.1 million, in its expected range. The drama about an American father trying to clear his daughter of French murder charge was helped by coverage of its Cannes premiere, as well as its lead actor’s presence. But mixed reviews and a still-challenged older audience muted its opening.

Both “Knight” and “Stillwater” are anticipated on PVOD within three weeks and their theatrical appearances should benefit both.

“The Green Knight” - Credit: A24
“The Green Knight” - Credit: A24

A24

“Black Widow” held on to fourth place with a 45 percent fall, tied for second best among top 10 holdovers. It is closely bunched with “Knight” and “Old” just ahead, and likely leads them next weekend, although the opening of “Suicide Squad” will provide competition. “Black Widow” domestic now stands at $167 million, tops for the year.

Among limited specialized openings the best was “Nine Days” (Sony Pictures Classics), a 2020 Sundance premiere (it won the screenwriting award) about unborn souls being interviewed for possible human existence. Its $18,455 in four theaters is normal under current circumstances.

The Top 10

1. Jungle Cruise (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 49; Est. budget: $200 million; also on Premium VOD via Disney+

$34,181,000 in 4,310 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $; Cumulative: $34,181,000

2. The Green Knight (A24) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 84

$6,784,000 in 2,790 theaters; PTA: $2,432; Cumulative: $6,784,000

3. Old (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$6,700,000 (-60%) in 3,379 theaters (+24); PTA: $1,983; Cumulative: $30,600,000

4. Black Widow (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #3; also available on Premium VOD via Disney+

$6,426,000 (-45%) in 3,360 theaters (-590); PTA: $; Cumulative: $167,067,000

5. Stillwater (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: B-; Metacritic: 60; Est. budget: $20 million

$5,120,000 in 2,531 theaters; PTA: $3,396; Cumulative: $5,120,

6. Space Jam: A New Legend (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #4; also on HBO Max

$4,265,000 (-55%) in 3,501 theaters (-501); PTA: $1,218; Cumulative: $60,739,000

7. Snake Eyes (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$4,000,000 (-70%) in 3,540 theaters (+21); PTA: $1,130; Cumulative: $22,283,000

8. F9 (Universal) Week 6; Last weekend #5; also on Premium VOD

$2,650,000 (-45%) in 2,348 theaters (-502); PTA: $1,129; Cumulative: $168,545,000

9. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (Sony) Week 4; Last weekend #6

$2,200,000 (-37%) in 2,086 theaters (-729); PTA: $; Cumulative: $20,522,000

10. The Boss Baby: Family Business (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #7; also on Peacock

$1,300,000 (-55%) in 1,865 theaters (-908); PTA: $697; Cumulative: $53,400,000

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

Nine Days (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Sundance 2020

$18,455 in 4 theaters; Cumulative: $4,614

Enemies of the State (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Toronto 2020, Tribeca 2021

$5,000 in 13 theaters; PTA: $385

Joe Bell (Roadside Attractions) Week 2

$163,200 in 1,053 theaters; Cumulative: $1,259,000

Without Getting Killed or Caught (Slow Uvalde) Week 2

$14,430 in 7 theaters; Cumulative: $23,893

Ailey (Neon) Week 2

$4,732 in 2 theaters; Cumulative: $2,366

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (Focus) Week 3

$330,000 in 537 theaters; Cumulative: $4,560,000

Pig (Neon) Week 3

$232,000 in 336 theaters; Cumulative: $2,643,000

Summer of Soul (Searchlight) – Week 5; also on Hulu

$52,000 in 85 theaters; Cumulative: $2,200,000

Queen Bees (Gravitas Ventures) Week 8; also on Premium VOD

$13,325 in 47 theaters; Cumulative: $1,881,000

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