Source: Sony

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’

Action sequel Jumanji: The Next Level and Blumhouse horror Black Christmas lead this weekend’s releases at the UK box office, which may see Frozen II fall from the top slot.

Released through Sony, Jumanji: The Next Level reunites stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black with director Jake Kasdan.

Together, they scored a box office hit with Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle in December 2017, which opened with £8.15m (including £4.11m in previews) and went on to gross £38.5m.

The sequel sees four young people return to the videogame world of Jumanji, where they are portrayed by superhuman avatars. The core cast are rounded out by franchise newcomers Awkwafina, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito.

It could continue a box office rebound for Johnson, who stumbled last year with Rampage in April (opened: £4.11m, closed: £8.96m) and Skyscraper in August (opened: £1.82m, closed: £5.33m) but bounced back with Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw this August (opened: £6.38m, closed £20.5m).

Universal will open Black Christmas, the second remake of the 1974 slasher in which a group of female students are stalked by a stranger during their festive break.

Directed by Sophia Takal, this latest take has been made by horror hitmakers Blumhouse Productions and stars Imogen Poots, Brittany O’Grady, Lily Donoghue, and Aleyse Shannon.

They will hope to improve on the Glen Morgan-directed 2006 remake, which opened on £368,000 and grossed £1.07m.

Other Blumhouse Productions in 2019 have included sequel Happy Death Day 2U in February (opened: £735,000, closed: £1.54m) and Ma, starring Octavia Spencer, in May (opened: £510,000, closed: £1.59m).

Other new titles

The Kingmaker

Source: Venice Film Festival

‘The Kingmaker’

Dogwoof’s latest documentary to hit cinemas is Lauren Greenfield’s The Kingmaker, which debuted at Venice and spotlights the controversial political career of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines.

Greenfield’s previous features include The Queen Of Versailles, which grossed £65,000 from its UK release in 2012, and Generation Wealth, which took £38,000 in 2018.

Pinpoint Films will release relationship drama Pink Wall, which marks the feature directorial debut of Weekend and Downton Abbey actor Tom Cullen (a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2011). Starring Tatiana Maslany and Jay Duplass, the film debuted at SXSW in March.

Wildcard Distribution is releasing Citizen K, the latest documentary from Alex Gibney, the Oscar and Emmy Award-winning director of Taxi To The Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison of Belief and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God among others.

Gibney’s latest feature debuted at Venice and focusses on the case of a man once believed to be the wealthiest in Russia, who achieved prosperity and prominence in the 1990s, served a decade in prison, and became an unlikely martyr for the anti-Putin movement.

Another documentary set for release is Victor Kossakovsky’s Aquarela, which premiered at Venice in 2018 and examines the power of water and the landscapes it has produced around the world. Park Circus is handling the release.

Indian releases include Gopi Puthran’s crime drama sequel Mardaani 2, released by Yash Raj Films, and mystery thriller The Body from Drishyam director Jeethu Joseph, distributed by Eros International.

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles, a Max Lewkowicz-directed documentary that tells the origin story of beloved musical Fiddler On The Roof and includes contributions from Lin-Manuel Miranda among others.

Eureka Entertainment will distribute Danish drama Sons Of Denmark, which marks the feature debut of Ulaa Salim and premiered at Rotterdam. The film centres on two Muslim men who struggle with life in a highly radicalised society.

Jonny Tull will release Australian documentary The Bikes Of Wrath, co-directed by Cameron Ford and Charlie Turnball, which follows five friends who set out to bike from Oklahoma to California to honour the route travelled in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

The Force to rise

Disney’s Frozen II will likely continue to perform well in its fourth week while other key holdovers include Lionsgate’s Knives Out and Universal’s Last Christmas.

But all releases will be hoping to secure as much box office as possible before the arrival of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker on December 19, which ends the latest trilogy of the fantasy adventure saga and is likely to leave all-comers behind.

Universal, however, is aiming to provide an alternative with the release of its adaptation of hit musical Cats on December 20.