'Jumanji 2' Roars to $60M Opening While A24's 'Uncut Gems' Delivers Studio Record Debut
While the studio attempted to downplay expectations, Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level opened at the top end of industry expectations, leading the weekend charge with a December studio record opening and getting the box office off to a strong start for the holiday frame. Though, it has to be mentioned, that strong start didn't trickle down to the weekend's two other new wide releases as both Universal and Blumhouse's Black Christmas and WB's Richard Jewell fell well below expectations.

The $60.1 million opening for Jumanji: The Next Level is the 13th largest December opening ever and the largest December debut for Sony. While the film will have to contend next weekend with the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the opening weekend performance, along with a strong audience reaction — which gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore — puts it in a fantastic position heading into the Christmas holiday frame. Two years ago Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sat at $52.7 million after its first five days in release and went on to gross over $404 million domestically and nearly $1 billion worldwide, serving as the largest domestic gross in Sony's history. Can the sequel take it to the... next level?

In terms of audience, the film played to a crowd that was 56% male and only 29% of the overall audience was over the age of 25, which speaks to its ability to appeal to a younger audience base. In fact, while the gender demographics are the same as the first film, 45% of the opening weekend audience for the first film was aged 25 or older, which means not only did the sequel bring in a larger crowd, it brought in a younger crowd at that.

Internationally, The Next Level got its overseas start last weekend and this weekend added 34 new markets for a total of 52, from which it brought in an estimated $85.7 million, pushing its international total to $152.5 million for a $212.6 million global cume. This weekend saw the UK lead all markets with a 5-day total of $12.6 million followed by Russia ($8.9m) and Germany ($4.6m). The film has still yet to release in Italy (Dec 25), Australia (Dec 26) and Brazil (Jan 16).

Slipping to second for the first time since release, Disney's Frozen II brought in an estimated $19.2 million to kick off its fourth week in release, pushing the film's domestic cume to $366.5 million. Added to that, the film's overseas total has now blossomed to $666 million for a global cume totaling $1.032 billion. This makes Frozen II Disney's sixth $1+ billion global release of 2019 alone. It also serves as the third Walt Disney Animations Studios release to top $1 billion alongside Frozen and Zootopia and the seventh largest animated release ever worldwide. It also now stands as the tenth largest animated release domestically of all-time, moving ahead of Inside Out.

Third place belongs to Lionsgate's Knives Out, which added an estimated $9.25 million this weekend, pushing the film's domestic cume just shy of $80 million. In addition to that, the film added another $13.6 million from 73 international markets this weekend for an overseas cume that now stands at an estimated $83.3 million, for a global tally topping $162 million with releases in Germany (Jan 2) and Japan (Jan 31) still to come.

Fourth and fifth place belong to the weekend's two other new wide releases, both of which were expected to reach $10+ million, but struggled to hit half that number, both finding a place within the top 50 worst openings ever. First is WB's Richard Jewell, which opened in just over 2,500 locations with an estimated $5 million. The Clint Eastwood drama was never able to get started and while it received an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, it seems the abundance of adult-targeted features in theaters right now was just too much to overcome.

Right behind Jewell is Universal and Blumhouse's Black Christmas, a remake of the 1974 holiday horror, and it was only able to muster an estimated $4.4 million from 2,625 locations. While this isn't the worst wide release for Blumhouse ever, it is the second worst wide release for a Blumhouse feature debuting in over 2,000 theaters behind 2015's bust Jem and the Holograms. And while the film entered the weekend with a 43% score on RottenTomatoes, horror films can typically withstand poor reviews, but audiences seemed to agree, giving the film a "D+" CinemaScore. Of the opening weekend crowd, 54% were female and 57% were aged 25 or older.

Internationally, Black Christmas opened in 37 international territories including France, Spain, Germany, Australia and the U.K. & Ireland for a weekend total of $3.1 million. France led the way with a $421k debut followed by a $379k release in the UK. The film will launch in Russia and Mexico next weekend.

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems / A24

Elsewhere, A24's limited release of the Safdie brothers' Uncut Gems saw the drama deliver the studio's largest per screen opening average ever, debuting with an estimated $525,498 in five locations for a $105,100 per theater average. The performance ranks as the 26th best opening average all-time. Looking ahead, the film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences and will go wide on Christmas day, though we've yet to receive word on just how wide A24 will go with the release.

This weekend also saw Lionsgate release the controversial Fox News drama Bombshell into four theaters in New York and Los Angeles ahead of its nationwide opening next weekend, where it delivered an estimated $312,000 for a $78,000 per theater average. The weekend crowd was 59% female while 86% of the audience was over the age of 25.

Additionally, Fox Searchlight's release of Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life had a somewhat muted debut in five locations in NY and LA, bringing in an estimated $52,000 ($10,400 PTA). The film will expand into an additional 47 markets next weekend, bringing the theater count to 90-100 locations.

Next weekend will see Disney debut Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in over 4,200 locations while Fox releases the animated feature Spies in Disguise in ~3,300 theaters and Universal debuts the musical stage adaptation Cats in over 3,300 locations.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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