Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ Debuts with $90 Million Theatrical/PVOD Revenue

Disney’s Jungle Cruise debuted atop the Aug. 1 weekend box office and in consumer homes, opening to an estimated total of more than $90 million globally.

That figure includes $34.2 million in domestic box office earnings across 4,310 screens, $27.6 million in international box office revenue, and more than $30 million in Disney+ “Premier Access” consumer spend globally. The movie was available as a $29.99 add-on to Disney+, suggesting 1 million subscribers paid to activate the movie.

The PVOD tally was half the $60 million Disney+ subscribers spent purchasing Marvel Studios’ Black Widow on its opening box office weekend.

 “We remain focused on offering consumer choice during these unprecedented times, and it is clear that fans and families value the ability to make decisions on how they prefer to enjoy Disney’s best-in-class storytelling,” Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution stated.

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Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is an adventure-filled, rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila — his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities — possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate — and mankind’s — hangs in the balance.

Jaume Collet-Serra directs the film, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. The producers are John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment; Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions; and Beau Flynn of Flynn Picture Co., with Scott Sheldon and Doug Merrifield serving as executive producers. The story is by John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, and the screenplay is by Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.

Other new releases included The Green Knight (A24) with $6.8 million across 2,790 screens, and Focus Features’ Stillwater with $5.1 million across 2,531 screens.

Returning releases included Universal Pictures’ M. Night Shyamalan’s horror thriller Old with $6.76 million; Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow with $6.43 million; Space Jam: A New Legacy with an estimated $4.27 million; Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins with $4 million in ticket sales; Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga with $2.65 million; and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and The Boss Baby: Family Business, generating a reported $2.2 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

Weekend Box Office: Disney Takes PVOD ‘Jungle Cruise’

Walt Disney Studios is re-entering controversial PVOD waters July 30. The studio will begin streaming the newly released feature film Jungle Cruise into Disney+ subscriber homes as a $29.99 add-on while simultaneously launching the ride-based action adventure, starring Dwyane Johnson and Emily Blunt, in theaters nationwide.

Disney’s last hybrid release — Black Widow — performed well its first weekend, generating $80 million at the domestic box office while generating another $60 million in lucrative Premier Access revenue to dominate the opening weekend.

Then things changed.

Second-week box office revenue plummeted, and this week the Marvel Cinematic Universe hero’s lead star, Scarlett Johansson, filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Disney over the PVOD release.

Black Widow has generated more than $319 million at the global box office, including $159 million domestically.

In a widely derided statement, Disney characterized the litigation as “sad and distressing,” even publicly questioning Johansson’s alleged “callous disregard” for the ongoing pandemic and its global impact on Hollywood, movies and distribution.

Johansson claims PVOD denied her the maximum financial compensation from a traditional theatrical window release, a contractual predicament Disney hopefully avoided with the Jungle Cruise stars. Following the fallout over the first-ever Premier Access revenue disclosure, it’s doubtful Disney will go public with Cruise digital sales.

Regardless, the movie has generated positive buzz on social media and among critics, and features the popular Johnson and Blunt, who is coming off a big success in A Quiet Place Part II. Industry estimates eye the movie generating upwards of $35 million over the three-day weekend. Pre-pandemic, Jungle Cruise was expected to generate $50 million on its opening weekend.

Other new releases include The Green Knight, A24’s medieval fantasy film starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton, among others, and Stillwater, featuring Matt Damon as a rough and tough American trying to rescue his daughter in a foreign country.

The films are projected to generate from $2 million to $7 million on the low end, and $12 million on the high end in ticket sales.

Theater Group Slams Disney’s ‘Black Widow’ PVOD Release Strategy Following Box Office Drop

NEWS ANALYSIS — Following the 80% drop at the domestic weekend box office for Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, which saw Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy, featuring NBA superstar LeBron James, finish No. 1 in ticket sales, one interested party is blaming Disney+ and PVOD.

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has long been a champion of the theatrical window — the 90-day exclusive period enriching exhibitors and studios while laying the groundwork for secondary distribution channels such as packaged media retail, digital and pay-TV.

Disney, via Marvel superhero movies, dominated the last pre-pandemic theatrical year in 2019 with more than $11.1 billion in global box office revenue. But the times have changed, and with vaccinations becoming politicized and moviegoers now presented with earlier in-home movie access via HBO Max (Warner) and premium VOD (Disney, Universal, Lionsgate) and Paramount+ and Peacock (NBCUniversal), NATO is fuming at the fiscal repercussions.

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Indeed, Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate — including Space Jam: A New Legacy — concurrently for free to subscribers on Max. Disney has made select movies (i.e. Black Widow) available for $29.99 purchase on Disney+.

Citing Black Widow’s excellent reviews, positive word of mouth, and strong previews and opening day total ($13.2 million/$39.5 million), the trade group was surprised by the movie’s 41% second-day drop in ticket sales, a weaker-than-expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.

“Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?,” the group asked in a July 18 statement.

NATO contends that despite assertions that the pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous home entertainment release model, the legacy exclusive theatrical release window translates into more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life.

Based on comparable Marvel titles, and other successful pandemic-era titles like F9: The Fast Saga and A Quiet Place Part II opening day to weekend ratios, NATO says Black Widow should have opened to anywhere from $92 million to $100 million. Based on preview revenue, compared with the same titles, Black Widow could have opened to anywhere from $97 million to $130 million.

Widow opened with a $80 million domestic box office weekend.

NATO contends early analysis pointed at the $60 million in Disney’s Premier Access (PVOD) revenue and compared it to the domestic theatrical of $80 million and suggested a success, especially since Disney keeps every dollar of home release.

“It does not,” writes NATO. “Approximately 15% of revenue goes to the various platforms through which consumers access Disney+. It ignores that Premier Access revenue is not newfound money, but was pulled forward from a more-traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option.”

The trade group pointed out the average number of people per household in the U.S. is 2.37 — a number considered to be higher among family-oriented Disney+ households.

“How much password sharing is there among Disney+ subscribers?,” asked NATO. “Combined with the lost theatrical revenue and forgone traditional PVOD revenue, the answer to these questions will show that simultaneous release costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film.”

Piracy no doubt further affected Black Widow’s performance, and will affect its future performance in international markets where it has yet to open.
Pristine digital copies became available within minutes of release on Disney+. Black Widow was the most pirated movie for the week endedJuly 12. It was also available on myriad illegal streaming sites all over the Internet.

NATO said similar digital piracy/password sharing occurred for all simultaneous releases, including Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs. Kong, Cruella and Mortal Kombat).

“This did not happen for F9 or A Quiet Place 2,” wrote NATO. “How much money did everyone lose to simultaneous release piracy?”

The trade group suggests that the many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being “rapidly answered” by Black Widow’s “disappointing and anomalous” performance.

“The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself,” wrote NATO.

‘Black Widow’ Scores $60+ Million Sales Debut on Disney+

In a surprise announcement, The Walt Disney Co. on July 11 disclosed that its Marvel Studios release Black Widow generated more than $60 million in Premier Access sales. The Scarlett Johansson-starrer, which is screening worldwide in theaters, is concurrently available to Disney+ subscribers for a $29.99 purchase fee.

This marks the first time Disney has ever revealed Premier Access sales data since debuting with Mulan last September.

“Once again, Marvel has delivered an exceptional film to the delight of fans worldwide with Black Widow achieving numerous milestones in the current marketplace,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “Black Widow’s strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney+.”

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“It’s incredible to see audiences enjoying Black Widow after two years without a new Marvel Studios film, and this spectacular opening weekend shows just how eager fans have been to see this beloved Avenger in her own story. There’s no question it’s been worth the wait — Cate Shortland, Scarlett Johansson, and the Marvel Studios team have delivered an exceptional film that continues a legacy of creative excellence as the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands and enters a new era,” said Alan Bergman, chairman of Disney Studios Content.

Marvel Studios continues its creative excellence across multiple parts of the Disney ecosystem. Black Widow follows the successful recent launches of the Disney+ original MCU series “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” as well as the June 4 opening of Avengers Campus, the all-new Land at Disney California Adventure Park. To date, Marvel fans have streamed nearly 3 billion hours of content on Disney+.

Disney’s ‘Cruella,’ ‘Black Widow’ Bowing Simultaneously on Premier Access and in Theaters; Pixar’s ‘Luca’ Going Straight to Disney+

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution March 23 announced new details for Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming slate of theatrical movies, including live-action Cruella, Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, and Pixar’s Luca, among others.

Following the recent $29.99 Premier Access (PVOD) releases of Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon, both Cruella and Black Widow will launch simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access in most Disney+ markets on May 28 and on July 9, respectively.

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Similarly to the Christmas Day launch of Academy Award-nominated Soul, Pixar’s Luca will stream directly in homes worldwide exclusively on Disney+ beginning Friday, June 18, as a special offering to kick-off the summer season.  In international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, the film will be released theatrically, with premiere dates to be announced.

“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver [Disney movies].”

Additional shifted theatrical release dates include: Free Guy on Aug. 13; Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Sept. 3; The King’s Man on Dec. 22; Deep Water on Jan. 14, 2022; and Death on the Nile on Feb. 11, 2022.

Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Remains Atop Domestic Box Office Concurrent With Premier Access in the Home

Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon continues its strong pandemic box office run, reportedly generating an estimated $5.2 million in ticket sales across more than 2,200 domestic screens for the weekend ended March 21. The title has generated about $24.8 million ($71.6 worldwide) since its March 3 bow concurrently with premium VOD ($29.99) availability on Disney+. Raya is Disney’s second PVOD release following live-action Mulan.

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Among the weekend’s top-performing theatrical titles in the U.S., the usual suspects continue to resonate, including Warner Bros. Pictures animation release Tom and Jerry with $3.8 million ($32 million total; $70+ million global); Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking generated $2.2 million ($10 million; $15 million), followed by the studio’s newcomer, The Courier, starring Rachel Brosnahan and Benedict Cumberbatch, the latter as a businessman-turned-Cold War-spy, with $2 million. Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age continues to shine, selling $620,000 in tickets ($55.2 million; $159.7 million) despite being available across multiple retail channels.

Oscar nominees A Promising Woman and Minari saw weekend ticket sales of $195,000 and $306,000, respectively, bring the movies’ total theatrical revenue to $5.7 million and $1.3 million.

The weekend saw most of the U.S. exhibition market re-open for business, albeit at 25% capacity (or 100 people per screen) due to ongoing government restrictions.

“This weekend showed solid results from holdovers, demonstrating the revenue generating horsepower of opening the biggest box-office market in North America,” Paul Dergarabedian, media analyst with Comscore, said in a statement. “Eager movie fans in Los Angeles showed up in solid numbers to enjoy the big screen experience once again.”

 

Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Tops Biggest Pandemic Weekend Box Office Since Christmas

Disney’s new theatrical/Premier Access release, Raya and the Last Dragon, topped the weekend domestic box office with a projected $8.6 million in ticket sales through March 7. That’s slightly more than the film generated in China at $8.4 million. The movie is tracking toward more than $26 million worldwide. The domestic box office topped $23.1 million — the largest tally since Christmas.

With some New York City movie theaters re-opening, the tally underwhelmed when compared to the previous-weekend’s $14.1 debut of Warner Bros. Pictures live-action/animation hybrid Tom & Jerry, which also bowed simultaneously on HBO Max. The movie took in $6.6 million in the No. 2 spot; $23 million since launching.

Lionsgate’s fantasy Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, rounded out the podium with a reported $3.8 million — a far cry from the movie’s reported $100 million production budget.

Raya also underperformed compared with the opening of Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age with $9.7 million last Thanksgiving, and Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 with $16.7 million over Christmas weekend. Raya was hamstrung as Cinemark, the No. 3 exhibitor in the country, refused to screen the movie without a renegotiated distribution deal with Disney.

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Indeed, Raya was concurrently available to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99, the same price of Disney’s first Premier Access release, Mulan, over the Labor Day weekend. Disney has not reported financial details of that direct-to-consumer retail release. Notably, Disney keeps 100% of all Premier Access revenue while splitting theatrical revenue with exhibitors.

On a March 1 virtual investor event, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the studio still believes in the theatrical business model but added the the consumer dynamic is changing.

“I think the consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before because now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting [movies] at home pretty much when they want them,” Chapek said. “I’m not sure there’s a going back, but we certainly don’t want to cut the legs off a theatrical exhibition run.”

Disney Launching ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ in Theaters and Disney+ Next March

Disney will launch the feature film Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and on the Disney+ SVOD platform in March 2021. It marks the first time Disney is launching a new theatrical release on its branded streaming platform and in theaters concurrently.

It will be available on Disney+ as a Premier Access add-on for $29.99.

The company previously moved the live-action Mulan remake from its theatrical slate and into the home via premium VOD over the Labor Day weekend. Pending theatrical release Soul is now bowing on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, the film is produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho and was written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. The film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as the lead character, Raya, and Awkwafina as Sisu, the last dragon.

According to the Disney website, “Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world — it’s going to take trust as well.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek ‘Very Pleased’ With ‘Mulan’ PVOD Release; Says More Coming

Disney’s first foray into premium VOD distribution of new-release movies into consumer homes rather than theaters proved successful, according to CEO Bob Chapek.  Speaking on the Nov. 12 fiscal call, Chapek said the Sept. 4 availability of live-action movie Mulan to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 was a success. He didn’t disclose actual unit sales, saying Disney would reveal PVOD data on the virtual Investor Day on Dec. 10.

“From a studio content standpoint, we were very pleased with the results of Mulan as a premier access title,” Chapek said. The title met with adverse publicity (“mostly in the U.S.,” said Chapek) regarding filming locations in China and human rights issues with local ethnic Muslims, but not before Disney was able to determine the value of PVOD.

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Bob Chapek

“We saw enough very positive results before that controversy started to know that we’ve got something here in terms of Premier Access strategy,” Chapek said. “We’ll talk a little bit more that at the investor conference.”

He said offering the movie Soul first to Disney+ subs on Christmas Day reflects the company’s strategy of upping the content pipeline to the SVOD service.

“We thought it was a really nice gesture to our subscribers during the holiday period and provide that as  part of the service,” Chapek said. “I think what we’ve learned with Mulan is that there’s going to be a role for [PVOD] strategically with our portfolio of offerings.”

 

Disney Expanding ‘Mulan’ PVOD Access to FandangoNow, Vudu

Disney’s high-profile premium video-on-demand (Premier Access) experiment, releasing the live-action movie Mulan to Disney+ subscribers, is now expanding to FandangoNow and Vudu.com.

Disney will make the movie available Oct. 6 on Vudu and FandangoNow, with pre-orders available now for the same $29.99 purchase price in SD, HD or 4K UHD currently offered to Disney+ subscribers.

Consumers pre-ordering Mulan on Vudu will get a $3 credit toward other movies and TV shows on the platform upon the film’s release. The movie was first released on Sept. 4.

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In mid-September, Yahoo! Finance, citing data from 7Park Data, reported that the movie had been purchased by 9 million Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 each through Sept. 12. That figure suggests the $200 million budget movie generated an impressive $270 million in direct-to-consumer revenue. A representative form 7ParkData later clarified on Twitter that they had estimated Mulan was watched by 29% of people watching Disney+ over the debut weekend, not total subscribers, which lowered estimated revenue to about $60 million to $90 million.

Unlike a typical PVOD transaction that gives a viewer a limited time period, usually 48 hours, to watch the movie, Premier Access is set up to allow Disney+ subscribers to pay the premium fee to unlock the movie on Disney+ for as long as they are subscribers, effectively giving those who pay early access to the movie before it becomes available to all subscribers in a few months.