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Two years ago Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle went head-to-head with Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the box office, and while Star Wars was the eventual winner in that fight, Jumanji did a lot better than most people were expecting. Two years later, the two franchises will do battle once again, but this time Jumanji got a head start.
Jumanji: The Next Level opened last Friday and, as expected, had a huge opening. It blew away the opening of the first movie and it set a number of records in the process. Dwayne Johnson took to Twitter to thank all the fans that made that happen.
Jumanji: The Next Level had a domestic opening weekend that came in just short of $60 million. That was good enough to set a couple of December records, both for Sony and for comedy films. More impressively perhaps, it's the biggest opening ever for Dwayne Johnson's Seven Bucks Productions. The studio is behind basically every movie Johnson makes these days, and most of them end up raking in the cash, so that's a significant milestone.
In a full week of release, Jumanji: The Next Level has made over $225 million around the world, which is a solid number. With a reported production budget of $125 million, it's off to a great financial start.
Of course, there is still the bantha in the room that could put a major dent in this momentum, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It's all but a done deal that Jumanji: The Next Level won't be the number one movie in the world when this weekend is over. With the audience so overwhelmingly focused on The Rise of Skywalker, Jumanji's numbers will likely take a serious hit.
Of course, the last Jumanji film's strength was its ability to keep adding the dollars for weeks after release. It didn't become the number one movie in the country until January and it remained in the top 10 until March. It was a consistent earner over a long haul, rather than, like most tentpole movies these days, a film that hit it big for a weekend or two and then fades away quickly.
While the Christmas holiday always sees some potential awards contenders released, some wide, and others limited in order to qualify for awards, there's nothing that's expected to really compete on the blockbuster stage, which means from here on out in 2019 it will just be a question of whether Star Wars or Jumanji is in this for the longer haul.
While critical review of The Rise of Skywalker have been rough, the early response from the audience has been much more positive, which means the final movie in the Skywalker Saga might do some huge numbers over the next several weeks. There's really no question if the movie will make a billion dollars or not, it's just a question of how fast it will happen.
Jumanji came up just short of that milestone two years ago and the sequel likely has that number in its sights.