UK Box Office

There may have been some nervous times at Disney when it was developing its Jungle Book film in a race with a rival project from Warner Bros, but it’s all smiles now that the numbers are pouring in. Very much in line with the stonking US opening of $103m, Jon Favreau’s live-action/CGI remake of the 1967 animated classic has debuted in the UK with a muscular £9.9m – particularly impressive since the film has not benefited from coinciding with a school holiday. Disney allocated the Easter break to its own Zootropolis, where it shared some of the spoils with DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, and it has Alice Through the Looking Glass set for the June half-term. That left no holiday available for The Jungle Book – which Disney is in any case positioning as a “four quadrant”, or all-audience, picture.

Disney announced its Jungle Book film was in development in July 2013, with Favreau confirmed as director in November that year. Warner Bros, meanwhile, had announced its own version back in April 2012, although after a couple of false starts attaching a director, it wasn’t until March 2014 that Andy Serkis was announced. The Jungle Book: Origins was originally set for October 2016 release, before being pushed back to October 2017 and then October 2018. Meanwhile, to add to Warner’s woes, Disney has just announced a sequel to its own hit film.

Apt comparison titles for The Jungle Book are not particularly obvious, but Disney’s live-action Cinderella began in March 2015 with £3.8m. Alice in Wonderland debuted in March 2010 with £10.56m.

Rapid burnouts for both Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Huntsman: Winter’s War mean that Disney also occupies the runner-up spot with its animated hit Zootropolis. The film has reached £20.7m after four weeks of play, matching the lifetime of last year’s Big Hero 6 and edging past Tangled’s final total of £20.5m. Wreck-It Ralph, likewise from Disney Animation, reached £23.8m in the UK. Commercial hopes are likewise high for Disney’s next offering, this time from its Marvel stable: Captain America: Civil War.

The crossover hit: Eye in the Sky

When Bleecker Street released Eye in the Sky in the US in March, it opted for a platform release, expanding in early April to a modestly wide 1,029 theatres, and achieving $13m so far. The film straddles the space between thriller and adult drama, as military personnel and politicians debate whether to order a drone strike on a terror target in Nairobi that will likely incur loss of civilian life. The morally serious screenplay is by Guy Hibbert (Paul Greengrass’s Omagh) and direction comes from Tsotsi’s Gavin Hood.


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