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The Jungle Book opens to massive $103.6 million in US

The Jungle Book

Story by Jack Foley

JON Favreau’s The Jungle Book opened to a massive $103.6 million at the US box office to mark yet another win for Disney’s live-action studio.

The live action update of the classic Rudyard Kipling tale follows in the path of similar successes Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and Maleficent for the company.

Overseas, the film also continued to enjoy enormous business, grossing $136.1 million – including $50.3 million from China – for a foreign tally of $187.4 million and an early global total of $291 million.

In doing so, the film also nabbed the No. 1 April debut for a PG title in the US and the second best April opening of all time for any film behind last year’s Fast & Furious 7 ($146.2 million).

It did, however, surpass the likes of Captain America: The Winter Solider ($95 million) and Fast & Furious 5 ($86.2 million).

A delighted Dave Hollis, Disney’ distribution chief, commented: “This is as balanced as I’ve ever seen on any of the Disney live-action films we’ve worked on. The use of the technology is creating a theatrical experience. As with Avatar and Life of Pi, you have to see it to believe it. We’re getting both families and general audience adults.”

Of the week’s other two new releases, Ice Cube’s Barbershop: The Next Cut fared the best, opening in second spot with $20.2 million.

That led Jeff Goldstein, domestic distribution chief at Warner Bros, which released the film on behalf of New Line and MGM, to comment: “Given the enormity of the No. 1 movie [Jungle Book], we did great and broke through to reach our audience.”

However, the other newbie, Kevin Costner’s Criminal, struggled to make any kind of impression, opening in sixth spot with $5.9 million. The film sees the memories of a dead CIA operative (played by Ryan Reynolds) implanted into a death-row inmate (Costner) in hopes of stopping a dangerous threat.

The remainder of the US top five was therefore comprised of last week’s No.1, Melissa McCarthy comedy The Boss, which took third with $10.2 million, and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, which took $9 million in its fourth weekend of release. Zack Snyder’s much maligned comic book movie has now hit $311.3 million in the US and $827.3 million globally.

The superhero movie is now the sixth best comic book adaptation of all time but still ranks as a disappointment commercially given that most industry observers expected it to cross $1 billion – a figure it will now likely miss.

Put further into context, Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia (aka Zootropolis in the UK) wasn’t far behind Batman Vs Superman in its seventh weekend, taking $8.2 million to reach $307 million in the US and and global total of $882.3 million globally (without yet opening in Japan). The animated film will out-gross Batman Vs Superman – a feat few would have dared to predict at the start of the year.

Next story: James Cameron announces four Avatar sequels