Box Office: 'Jungle Book' swinging to huge $87 million opening

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Disney's 'The Jungle Book': Morgenstern's Review

Blowing past forecasts, Disney's "The Jungle Book" is dominating the U.S. box office with an impressive $87 million opening weekend at 4,028 sites, Saturday estimates showed.

"The Jungle Book" will notch the third-highest opening weekend of 2016 after "Batman v Superman" at $166 million and "Deadpool" at $132.4 million — and far ahead of Disney's "Zootopia" with $75 million, which had been the top end of projections a few days ago.

The family-friendly tentpole, directed by Jon Favreau, soared to a robust $32.4 million opening day Friday. The live action-CG hybrid has been embraced by critics for a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score and by audiences with an A+ CinemaScore for the under 18 and over 50 demographics, along with an A rating for the under 25 and over 25 groups.

"The Jungle Book" also has a shot at becoming the second-best April launch of all time if it can top 2014's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at $95 million. "Furious 7" set the April mark last year with $147.1 million while 2011's "Fast Five" is third-highest in April with $86 million.

"The Jungle Book," which carries a $175 million budget, is the latest in Disney's lucrative re-imagining of classic stories. "Cinderella" took in $67.9 million on its debut weekend last year en route to a $201.2 million domestic total and a $542.7 million global total. "Maleficent" opened two years ago with $69.4 million on its way to a $241.4 million domestic total and $758.5 million worldwide.

"The Jungle Book" is based on the 19th Century Rudyard Kipling stories about Mowgli, an abandoned human boy who becomes friends with jungle animals after being raised by wolves. Disney

Favreau's film includes Bill Murray voicing Baloo the bear, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the snake and Lupita Nyong'o as the mother wolf Raksha. Newcomer Neel Sethi stars as Mowgli.

MGM-New Line's comedy sequel "Barber Shop: The Next Cut" should also generate solid business in its opening weekend with about $20 million at 2,661 sites. Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Common, Regina Hall and Nicki Minaj star in the third version of the franchise, with MGM overseeing production and Warner Bros. is handling distribution. Critics have shown strong support with a 91% Rotten Tomatoes score.

The fourth weekend of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and Melissa McCarthy's "The Boss" are both fading fast in a battle for third place. Warner Bros.' costly superhero tentpole is sliding about 60% to $9.4 million at 3,505 locations to finish behind "The Boss," which dropped 59% to $9.7 million at 3,495.

"Batman v Superman" will finish the weekend with about $311 million in the U.S. — with more than half of that taken in during its opening weekend. It crossed the $500 million mark internationally on Wednesday.

Lionsgate's debut of its thriller "Criminal" is projected to open softly in the $5.7 million range in 2,683 locations — well below recent forecasts in the $7 million to $9 million area. Kevin Costner stars as a death row inmate who's implanted with a dead CIA agent's memories so he can finish an assignment.

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