The box-office debut for Jumanji: The Next Level proves that Sony was very smart to revive the beloved IP from 1995.
Playing its way to $60.1 million domestically for this weekend's high score, the sequel easily proved that the franchise has more games in it yet. For comparison, 2017's Welcome to the Jungle opened with just $36 million in North America—more than $20 million less than its 2019 follow-up. In addition, The Next Level was able to unseat Frozen II after the long-awaited Disney sequel stayed at the top of the box office for three weeks in a row.
Even so, the latest Frozen film has already made $1 billion at the global box office, the sixth Disney offering to do so this year. With an added $19.2 million in domestic sales this weekend (its at-home tally now stands at $366 million), Frozen II secured second place and is now the 11th-highest-grossing animated film of all time.
Let's get back to Jumanji 3, though. If the strong domestic opening is any indication, the movie should have no problem hitting the $404 million of its predecessor, which achieved $962 million in global sales. It will probably make more than that—perhaps even unlock $1 billion globally—should sales remain strong in the coming weeks.
Directed and co-written by the returning Jake Kasdan, The Next Level takes place about a year after the events of Welcome to the Jungle. When Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner), and Bethany (Madison Iseman) return home for winter break, they discover that Spencer (Alex Wolff) has gone back into the virtual world of Jumanji.
Wanting to save their friend, they willingly allow themselves to be sucked back into the game, but this time they're joined by Spencer's grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito), and Eddie's friend Milo (Danny Glover).
Dwayne Johnson (Smolder Bravestone), Kevin Hart (Mouse Finbar), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse), Jack Black (Shelly Oberon), and Nick Jonas (Seaplane McDonough) reprise their roles of the in-game avatars. Awkwafina and Rory McCann join the cast as a new playable character (Ming Fleetfoot) and the main villain (Jurgen the Brutal), respectively. Rhys Darby is also back as everyone's favorite NPC, Nigel Billingsley.
Third place at this weekend's box office goes to Rian Johnson's Knives Out, which took in another $9.25 million, bumping up the whodunit's domestic total to $78.9 million.
In fifth place, we have Universal and Blumhouse's remake of Black Christmas, which slashed its way to $4.4 million from 2,625 theaters. That figure falls well below early estimates of $10 million. It should be noted that SYFY WIRE is owned by NBCUniversal.
The updated take on the 1974 horror classic is the second reimagining of the 21st century (the iconic slasher also enjoyed a 2006 remake, opening to $3.3 million in North America) and was directed and co-written by Sophia Takal.
"I really wanted to make a movie where the violence towards women didn't feel exploitative or gratuitous, so from the start it was really important to me, like the original Black Christmas, to make a movie where the kills were more artful and more happened off-screen than on," Taka told SYFY WIRE.
In this modern-day incarnation, a group of sorority sisters (led by Imogen Poots' Riley Stone) fight back against an unknown college killer. Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O'Grad, Caleb Eberhardt, and Cary Elwes co-star.