‘Huntsman’ misfires as ‘Jungle Book’ takes another box office victory – USA TODAY

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Director Jon Favreau and 12-year-old actor Neel Sethi tell USA TODAY’s Bryan Alexander about the making of ‘The Jungle Book.’
Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Evil queens are no match for a man-cub.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War got off to a glacial start at the box office as The Jungle Book took No. 1 for a second weekend. The live-action remake of Disney’s 1967 animated classic earned a colossal $60.8 million, dropping just 41% from the week before and bringing its total to $191.5 million in 10 days, according to studio estimates from comScore.

Directed by Jon Favreau and based on stories by Rudyard Kipling, Jungle has received a resounding roar of approval from critics (94% on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers (an A on CinemaScore). The PG-rated, CGI-driven adventure stars newcomer Neel Sethi as orphaned hero Mowgli and features an all-star voice cast of Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken and Scarlett Johansson.

Jungle is already the fourth highest-earning movie of the year and Disney’s second jumbo hit after the animated Zootopia, which holds strong at No. 4 with $6.6 million ($316.4 million total). Globally, Jungle and Zootopia have banked $528.5 million and $907.1 million to date, respectively.

After Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ record-shattering run and with Captain America: Civil War on the way, “the Mouse House is killing it right now,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “These movies are spaced out perfectly with great marketing and absolute built-in appeal.” Jungle, in particular, “has proven to be a much more formidable movie than we expected. We knew it’d be a big hit, but no one could’ve known it’d be this huge.”

Meanwhile, Huntsman got a chilly reception in its first week out. The ill-received fantasy/adventure managed only $20.1 million — far below the $56.2 million debut of its predecessor, Snow White & the Huntsman, in June 2012. That film starred Kristen Stewart, who didn’t return for the follow-up, although Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprise their roles, with the additions of Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain to the cast.

Huntsman, a prequel/sequel hybrid and Snow White origin story, met with frigid reviews from critics (17% positive on RottenTomatoes.com), and couldn’t muster much magic from audiences, either (only 50% say they liked it).




Long before Snow White was in the picture, the evil queen had another worthy rival, her sister. ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ stars Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt.

The combination of poor reviews and Stewart’s absence may have contributed to the lower box office take. When Snow was released, “she was absolutely red-hot,” Dergarabedian says. But Winter’s War  has already claimed $80.2 million internationally, and its $115 million budget is $55 million lower than it was for Snow White. “It certainly came in lower than expected, but you have to compare (the movies) fairly,” Dergarabedian says.

Rounding out the top five, Barbershop: The Next Cut snipped off an additional $10.8 million for third place, bringing the Ice Cube comedy’s total to $36 million in 10 days. At No. 5, Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss drummed up $6.1 million, dipping just 39% and tallying $49.5 million in three weeks.

Final numbers are expected Monday.

‘Huntsman’ misfires as ‘Jungle Book’ takes another box office victory – USA TODAY

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