Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has opened five of his last six films to at least $35 million at the domestic box office. In terms of true blue movie stars who sell tickets with nothing more than name power, he is among the last of a dying breed. But not even The Rock is immune to the occasional flop, as we witnessed with May’s Baywatch.
The raunchy action comedy earned just $177 million worldwide off a $69 million budget, per Box Office Mojo. That’s far from the movie star results we’re used to seeing from Johnson, who is about as safe as it gets. Can the big man rebound with December’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? According to THR, the answer is yes.
Welcome to the Jungle is currently tracking for a six-day debut of $60 million over the Christmas week. That’s particularly impressive when you remember that it will be competing against the unmatched might of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is expected to easily top $200 million in its opening frame five days earlier. Such an opening would put it on pace for roughly $175 million-plus domestic. However, Sony executives are remaining cautiously optimistic and pegging the number closer to $45 million.
Welcome to the Jungle has a lot going for it in terms of its box office prospects. For starters, it has diverse star power appeal thanks to Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan (who you may recognize as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy and from her stint on Doctor Who). Next, ticket sales could receive a nostalgia-related boost as 20 and 30 year olds flock to theaters while reminiscing about the 1995 Robin Williams original. That film was a holiday hit as well. Lastly, and most importantly, Welcome to the Jungle is receiving universal praise for its humor, fun tone and chemistry among stars. Seriously, critics are loving it.
Even if the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle comes in closer to Sony’s expectation than the tracking numbers, it will still be a strong start for the movie. It’ll also mark a nice bounce back effort for Johnson.