“Jumanji: The Next Level” wins North American box office in opening weekend

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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Sony’s fantasy adventure comedy film “Jumanji: The Next Level” led ticket sales at the North American box office with a better-than-expected 60.1 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend, dethroning Disney’s tentpole “Frozen 2,” according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.

The strong performance of the film “represents an all-time record opening weekend for a comedy in the month of December,” wrote movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian at comScore in an email to Xinhua.

Directed by Jake Kasdan and based on the book “Jumanji” by Chris Van Allsburg, the film is the second sequel to 1995’s “Jumanji,” following 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which opened to 36.2 million dollars for a total of 404.5 million dollars in North America and would eventually gross nearly 1 billion dollars worldwide.

In the latest follow-up, starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan among others, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.

Internationally, “Jumanji: The Next Level” took in 85.7 million dollars this weekend. The film which started last weekend in overseas market has grossed 152.5 million dollars through Sunday in other territories for a global cume of 212.6 million dollars.

“Jumanji: The Next Level” received a positive “A-” rating from moviegoers on CinemaScore and a 66-percent certified fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to date.

Disney’s animated fantasy “Frozen 2” slipped to second after three weeks in a row as box office champ. The film brought in 19.18 million dollars in its fourth weekend for a North American cume of 366.5 million dollars.

The follow-up arrived six years after the original “Frozen.” The film features the return of the Academy Award-winning team — directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Evan Rachel Wood, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff. It brings back Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff, as they venture beyond the kingdom of Arendelle to find out why Elsa was born with magical powers.

“Frozen 2” has grossed 1,032.5 million dollars worldwide to date, becoming the sixth Disney film this year to hit the coveted 1-billion-dollar mark at the global box office. It’s now the 7th biggest animated release of all time worldwide.

Lionsgate’s mystery film “Knives Out” came in third with 9.25 million dollars in its third weekend for a North American cume of 78.92 million dollars through Sunday.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, the film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others. The plot follows a modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair detective Benoit Blanc is mysteriously enlisted to investigate.

Warner Bros.’ biographical drama film “Richard Jewell” opened in fourth with 5 million dollars in its opening weekend.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on true events, “Richard Jewell” is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta bombing – his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart.

Another newcomer, Universal’s slasher film “Black Christmas” from Sophia Takal finished fifth with 4.42 million dollars in its debut weekend. The film follows a formidable group of friends in sisterhood who pledge discover that a campus killer is part of an underground college conspiracy.

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