‘The Jungle Book’ Has A Strong Box Office Start

According to Entertainment Weekly, The Jungle Book grossed $32.4 million on Friday alone. Call it nostalgia or advertising or the general love for the concept, but The Jungle Book is definitely off to a great start heading into the weekend. During the early preview on Thursday, the movie pulled in $4.2 million.

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The 2016 rendition of the Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, is well on its way to grossing a projected $87 million for the entire weekend. The overseas number grossed more than $57 million, almost doubling its domestic number.

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Deadline estimates that The Jungle Book will become one of the highest April debuts ever. Critics believe the movie will surpass Fast Five from 2011, which held No. 3 spot at $86.19 million. The movie is well-rated among cinema critics. The Jungle Book has a score of 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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The Jungle Book has an “A” rating among other cinema critics, like CinemaScore. The movie is definitely a “must recommend.” The film is a hit among the 25-plus crowd, as strong as the 12-19 crowd. Critics believe word of mouth on this picture should carry it nicely through the weekend into May.

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The film is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s stories. Kipling’s rendition of the Jungle Book was a direct inspiration of him becoming a father. The Jungle Book chronicles a young boy coming to age while living among jungle animals. He gave his first copy of the book to his daughter in 1894. Her father wrote the inscription, “This book belongs to Josephine Kipling, for whom it was written by her father, May 1894.”

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The first live action of the Jungle Book debut in 1942. But the best known version is the Disney version in 1967. Disney turned the Jungle Book into a feel-good, family-targeted musical. One of it’s songs, “The Bare Necessities,” was nominated for an Academy Award.

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Ebony sat down with two actors to discuss why they chose to participate in the Favreau-directed film. Lupita Nyong’o, the 12 Years A Slave star, plays Raksha, the matriarch of the wolf pack and the only mother the cub, Mowgli, has ever known. Giancarlo Esposito had a déjà vu moment in taking on the role of wolf pack leader and Mowgli’s father figure, Akela. Idris Elba also stars in The Jungle Book as the terrifying Shere Khan the Tiger.

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The producers have already been greenlit for a sequel. Sources confirmed that Favreau is negotiating to return to his duties, along with film writer Justin Marks and producer Brigham Taylor. There has been no word on the film’s plot, but Favreau and Marks have lot of source material for inspiration. Disney released an animated version of The Jungle Book in 2003, starring Haley Joel Osment and John Goodman. The original Jungle Book series, written by Kipling, is a collection of 14 short stories.

[Photo by Joel Ryan/AP Images]