Image: Director of the movie Jon Favreau (R) poses with cast members (L-R) Ritesh Rajan, Giancarlo Esposito, Lupita Nyong’o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley at the premiere of “The Jungle Book” at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
By Brent Lang
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – “The Jungle Book” pulverized a trio of box office lightweights, racking up $42.4 million to lead ticket sales for the third consecutive weekend. Disney’s live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli stories has made $252.1 million since opening last month. It should have no trouble becoming the fourth film this year to cross $300 million domestically, joining the likes of “Deadpool,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Zootopia.”
It’s heady company. Just don’t look for this weekend’s new releases to number among those ranks. “Keanu,” an action-comedy sendup from Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, nabbed third place with $9.3 million across 2,658 screens. The weak result is alleviated somewhat by the fact that the Warner Bros./New Line release cost a meagre $15 million to produce. The film finds the stars of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” trying to rescue a kidnapped kitten. Reviews were strong, which could help the picture in the coming weeks when the competition gets fiercer.
Open Road’s “Mother’s Day,” an ensemble romantic comedy with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, collapsed at the multiplexes, eking out $8.3 million across 3,035 locations to finish in fourth. That could spell the end for director Garry Marshall’s lucrative “throw a bunch of stars at a holiday” franchise — a collection of films that also encompassed “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve.” Don’t hold your breath for “Arbor Day.”
And Focus Features’ “Ratchet and Clank” struggled to leave an impression. The adaptation of the video game series about a fugitive robot and a cat-like alien only managed to pull in $4.8 million from 2,891 locations, marking it as D.O.A.
Analysts and box office watchers weren’t expecting a lot from this crop, but the results were even worse than expected. Going into the weekend, tracking services had both “Mother’s Day” and “Keanu” debuting to north of $10 million.
“If April is the cruelest month then the last weekend of April is particularly cruel,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “All three of these films faltered.”
Then there were the holdovers. In its second weekend, Universal’s “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” dropped 52% to $9.4 million for a second place finish. With $33.9 million in the bank, this $115 million production is headed to write-down territory. “Barbershop: The Next Cut” rounded out the top five, earning $6.1 million and bringing the Warner Bros. and MGM comedy sequel’s domestic total to $44.7 million.
Of course, the whole weekend is really just a throat clearing for “Captain America: Civil War,” which barrels into theaters on May 6. The superhero sequel could pull in as much as $200 million to score one of the biggest openings in history. It already made more than $200 million overseas this weekend after debuting in a select number of foreign territories.
“We’re in the eye of the storm,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore. “We’re about to be swept up in the excitement and huge box office of ‘Captain America.'”
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