‘Jungle Book’ to ice ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ at the box office


Disney’s breakout hit “The Jungle Book” is poised to retain its place in the box office canopy this weekend, leaving little room for Universal Pictures’ would-be tent pole “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.”

Universal’s follow-up to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is not expected to do much business when it opens in the U.S. and Canada this weekend. The part-prequel, part-spinoff has been hampered by poor reviews, unexpectedly heavy competition and a lack of audience interest.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is likely to gross about $25 million domestically through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys. That would be considerably less than its predecessor, which launched with $56 million in its first weekend on its way to a worldwide total of $396.6 million.


The new movie, which is aiming to attract women to the multiplexes, boasts star power in Chris Hemsworth, plus Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt as warring queen sisters. But it lacks the pull of Kristen Stewart, who played Snow White in the first installment.

Meanwhile, “The Jungle Book” should build considerably on its impressive $103-million opening weekend, powered by strong reviews and a largely positive response from moviegoers indicated by a CinemaScore grade of A.

Analysts said it could gross around $60 million this weekend, which would represent a drop of 40% from its opening. To date, the Jon Favreau-directed movie has amassed $338 million in global box-office revenue.

The unexpectedly strong results for Disney’s live-action update of the classic Rudyard Kipling tales could spell trouble for “Huntsman,” said Shawn Robbins, an analyst with

“My concern is, with ‘Jungle Book’ being so big, there’s just not enough room for another big title in the market yet, especially with ‘Captain America: Civil War’ right around the corner,” Robbins said.


“Huntsman” would be an uncharacteristic miss for Universal, which enjoyed an industry-leading run last year with “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7” and other hits. The studio managed its costs this time around with an estimated production budget of $115 million, which is $55 million less than the first film. A portion of the spending was covered by China’s Perfect World Pictures.

The movie was directed by newcomer Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who earned an Oscar nomination for his visual effects work on “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Internationally, the new picture has grossed more than $45 million in ticket sales so far. This weekend it opens in countries including China, France and Brazil.

Aside from “Jungle Book” and “Huntsman,” moviegoers will have a smattering of new options in limited release.

Roadside Attractions will open the Tom Hanks film “A Hologram for the King,” based on the Dave Eggers novel about an American businessmen who ventures to Saudi Arabia for a deal. Bleecker Street and Amazon Studios will unveil “Elvis & Nixon,” starring Michael Shannon as the king of rock ‘n’ roll and Kevin Spacey as the Republican president. Lionsgate, meanwhile, will introduce its multicultural action-comedy “Compadres.”

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