The Jungle Book roars into top spot at North American box office

Neel Sethi as Mowgli talks with  Bagheera the panther  voiced by Ben Kingsley in The Jungle Book.
Neel Sethi as Mowgli talks with Bagheera the panther voiced by Ben Kingsley in The Jungle Book. PHOTO: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Disney's highly anticipated remake of The Jungle Book trounced the competition at the box office on its opening weekend, grossing US$103.6 million (S$140.63 million) at the box office, industry estimates showed Sunday.

The live-action movie uses computer wizardry to bring to life the characters from Rudyard Kipling's classic stories about a boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals.

Starring newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli, Hollywood heavyweights Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley and Idris Elba provide the voices of Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther and Shere Khan the tiger.

It was the third biggest debut of the year, after Batman v Superman US$166 million and Deadpool US$132 million.


Barbershop: The Next Cut, the latest instalment in the comedy franchise, was a distant second in its debut with US$20.2 million, according to estimates from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations.

Featuring Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer, the movie centres around the personalities in a barbershop who try to stop the violence plaguing their south Chicago neighbourhood.

Slapstick comedy The Boss slipped to third place after its second week in theatres, taking US$10.2 million over the weekend, lifting its total domestic take to US$40.4 million.

Starring Melissa McCarthy, The Boss tells of a billionaire who emerges penniless from a spell in jail for insider trading and is forced to move in with a former employee.


Batman v Superman, featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill as the iconic superheroes, was in fourth place, grossing US$9 million for an overall take of US$311.3 million after four weeks.

Animated Disney family film Zootopia, about an intrepid rabbit police officer who works with a fox to solve a crime in the animal kingdom, slipped from third to fifth.

It earned US$8.2 million over the weekend for an overall gross of US$307.5 million after seven weeks.


Rounding out the rest of the top 10 were: - Criminal (US$5.9 million) - My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (US$3.3 million) - Miracles from Heaven (US$1.9 million) - God's Not Dead 2 (US$1.7 million) - Eye in the Sky (US$1.6 million).