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Christmas looks to be very merry for Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which is tracking for a six-day debut of $60 million, according to early prerelease surveys.
That’s an especially strong number, considering the broad all-audience tentpole — starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan — will have to compete with Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens Dec. 15. Sony insiders are being more cautious and suggesting $45 million, which would still be a strong start.
Jumanji, which is set to launch Wednesday, Dec. 20, is among a flurry of year-end holiday titles that came on tracking Thursday morning. (Amazon Prime members will have a chance to see the movie early in 1,000 theaters across the country on Dec. 8 in a first-ever promotion.)
Universal’s female-skewing comedy Pitch Perfect 3 likewise looks like a Christmas winner. The threequel, which will open Dec. 22, is projected to post a four-day bow in the $30 million range, according to one major tracking service.
Fox’s The Greatest Showman, a biopic of circus maestro P.T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman, is tracking to post a six-day debut of roughly $21 million, a solid start. Greatest Showman will bow Dec. 20 in theaters.
Generally speaking, movies don’t necessarily post huge openings over Christmas weekend but can amass substantial grosses by the time New Year’s weekend wraps.
If tracking is correct, one pic that could find coal in its stocking is Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, which no longer stars disgraced actor Kevin Spacey. One service shows the Sony/TriStar film taking in $6 million for the four days (it unfurls Dec. 22). At the same time, Sony has three weeks left to promote the true-crime melodrama, so the forecast could change.
Sony had to abandon its original marketing campaign for All the Money in the World at the 11th hour when Scott decided in early November to reshoot portions of the completed film after replacing Spacey with Christopher Plummer.
Overall, the combined strength of this year’s Christmas crop looks stronger than that of the past two years. That’s good news for Hollywood and theater owners, considering domestic box-office revenue is down more than 4 percent year to date. While the gap isn’t likely to completely close, it could be narrowed if the holidays are prosperous.
Disney remains in the lead among the major six Hollywood studios, and on Wednesday it crossed the $5 billion mark at the global box office for the third year in a row, an unprecedented feat.
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