Disney’s Jungle Cruise rode to a better-than-expected opening of $34.2 million at the domestic box office amid renewed concerns over COVID-19 and the delta variant for a worldwide box office debut of $61.8 million, according to figures released by The Hollywood Reporter this morning. It also banked $30 million via Disney+ for a $91.8 million debut.
The film also brushed off vows by johnny depp fans to boycott Disney over their firing of the former Captain Jack Sparrow actor.
“Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, had been tracking to open in the $25 million to $30 million range domestically,” writes Pamela McClintock. “Jaume Collet-Serra directed the $200 million tentpole that’s based on the iconic Disneyland ride and which hopes to launch a new franchise, much as the first Pirates of the Caribbean did.”
According to McClintock, Jungle Cruise went up against James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, which is opening in five countries a week ahead of its domestic bow. Warner Brothers’ Suicide Squad took in $7 million, led by the U.K., where it beat Jungle Cruise with $4.7 million. Jungle Cruise, which earned a solid $3.7 million in the U.K., beat Suicide Squad in France with $1.7 million versus $1.6 million. This bodes well for James Gunn’s soft reboot of the Warner Brothers/DC Comics property.
A domestic opening of $34.2 million would be considered troubling for a big budgeted Disney event title starring one of the world’s most popular stars before the pandemic but Jungle Cruise can also rely on Disney+ Premier Access revenue. The family-friendly film was made available in homes with Disney’s Premier Access because of the COVID-19 concerns. Much of the Premier Access money comes from North American consumers.
Johnny Depp fans have vowed to boycott Disney and Warner Brothers after both studios released the former A-lister from his contracts over rising liability and legal concerns. Mr. Depp lost a high profile libel case that he brought himself against Newsgroup Newspapers Group. Judge Nicole ruled “Taking all the evidence together, I accept that [Amber Heard] was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr. Depp…I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults [Depp] committed against her. They must have been terrifying.”
The next test of COVID-19’s and Depp fan’s strength comes later this week when Warner Brothers releases it’s highly rated The Suicide Squad in North America.