'Jumanji: The Next Level' Rules Box Office as Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' Flops
Sony Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures

The 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' sequel unseats 'Frozen II' from the top spot, while the controversial biopic becomes Eastwood's second-worst wide opening in his directorial career.

AceShowbiz - "Jumanji: The Next Level" has conquered North American box office on its first weekend. The latest Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson-starring vehicle has toppled previous reigning champion "Frozen II" from the top spot with an estimated $60.1 million in domestic ticket sales Friday through Sunday.

Also bringing back Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black, the "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" sequel surpassed its predecessor which grossed $36.2 million on its first three-day weekend in 2017. Critics' responses for the second movie (66% approval rating) slightly drop from the first movie, which holds an approval rating of 76%, but it apparently didn't deter audiences from giving it a glowing score of A-, similar to the first movie's CinemaScore.

Overseas, "Jumanji: The Next Level" already made $152.5 million for a current worldwide total of $212.6 million. While the Sony pic is off to a good start, it's predicted to lose its momentum when "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" opens in theaters next week.

Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood's "Richard Jewell" didn't even have a chance to shine on its first weekend. The drama, based on a true story of the aftermath of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, debuted at No. 4 at the domestic chart with only an estimated $5 million.

It marks the second-worst nationwide opening of Eastwood's directing career after 1980's "Bronco Billy" ($3.7 million, not adjusted for inflation) and the worst in nearly four decades. If it fails to take off from this point forward, the movie is expected to lose tens of millions of dollars in North America due to its $45 million production budget.

Starring Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde among others, the biopic earned generally positive reviews from critics and already received strong boost for the award season. However, it apparently didn't help that the movie was plagued with controversy regarding its portrayal of late Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter Kathy Scruggs, who is depicted in the film as trading sex with an FBI agent in exchange for a tip on a story.

Another newcomer, "Black Christmas", also had a sloppy start at No. 5 with approximately $4.4 million. The slasher film, which is a second remake of the 1974 film of the same name, received not so favorable reviews from critics with an approval rating of 44%, while audiences gave it an average grade of D+ on CinemaScore. However, it's unlikely to incur a loss considering its modest $5 million budget.

The rest of the top five see holdovers, with "Frozen II" dropping one place to No. 2 with an estimated $19.2 million and "Knives Out" falling 2-3 with approximately $9.2 million.

Top Ten Movies at Weekend Box Office for Dec. 13-15:

  1. "Jumanji: The Next Level" - $60.1 million
  2. "Frozen II" - $19.2 million
  3. "Knives Out" - $9.2 million
  4. "Richard Jewell" - $5 million
  5. "Black Christmas" - $4.4 million
  6. "Ford v Ferrari" - $4.1 million
  7. "Queen & Slim" - $3.6 million
  8. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" - $3.4 million
  9. "Dark Waters" - $2 million
  10. "21 Bridges" - $1.2 million

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