Disney is celebrating the Jungle Cruise success with regards the box office first weekend — is the news that good?
The intention isn’t to criticise Disney; any organisation will find the positives behind everything it does. We’re just taking a look at their press release and adding some context.
What was the Jungle Cruise success?
Here’s Disney’s own words:
Disney’s Jungle Cruise debuted at No. 1 this weekend, opening to an estimated total of more than $90 million globally, including $34.2 million in domestic box office, $27.6 million in international box office and over $30 million in Disney+ Premier Access consumer spend globally
Our immediate observation is the balance between the three figures. In our mind it keeps alive the topic of the future of film launches (ie cinema vs premium cost streaming), a topic we may return to.
The simplest figure to compare to is the $200 million (estimated) cost of production. It’s clearly a pre-Covid project released in the uncertainty of global lockdown easing, and its numbers could have been far lower.
How does it compare to other recent releases?
The obvious comparison is Black Widow. Putting the recent controversy over Scarlett Johansson suing Disney, the two films both cost around $200 million to make. In it’s debut weekend, Black Widow took around $215 million. Not the stellar numbers we may have seen in a different version of reality with no pandemic, but credible, and cost covering.
There’s obviously a huge difference: Black Widow is part of the colossal, long-running MCU franchise, with the Marvel publicity machine behind it. Disney is marketing Jungle Cruise, but the two films come from a very different audience base.
If we add Cruella the mix, that cost around $100 million and netted around $47 million. Similar percentage return on debut to Jungle Cruise, and here this is franchise history, though perhaps not enormous.
So what does it all mean?
We should avoid drawing too many conclusions without more data points. This means two things:
1 Let’s give Jungle Cruise a few more weeks and look at a more integrated picture
2 Let’s wait for a few more movies to be released and look wider.
It also mean Premier Access launches are here for at least the medium term.