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'The Jungle Book' triumphs again at weekend box office

The Disney live-action film 'Jungle Book' topped the domestic box office for the third weekend in a row, grossing more than $42 million. The movie stars Neel Sethi, Scarlett Johansson, and Bill Murray.

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    'The Jungle Book' stars Neel Sethi (r.).
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The star-studded ensemble of director Garry Marshall's "Mother’s Day" and the comedic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele couldn't stand against the animals of "The Jungle Book." 

For the third weekend in a row, "Jungle," Disney's newest live-action adaptation of one of its animated movies, came in first at the domestic box office, grossing more than $42 million, a total that placed it far ahead of the competition. "Jungle" was originally released on April 15 and stars Neel Sethi, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and Lupita Nyong’o.

"The Huntsman: Winter's War," which originally opened on a previous weekend as well, came in second, grossing more than $9 million. The film is a sequel to the 2012 fairy tale film "Snow White and the Huntsman." 

Meanwhile, new movies such as the Key & Peele comedy "Keanu" and the ensemble comedy "Mother’s Day" were far below "Jungle," with "Keanu" coming in third place with a gross of more than $9 million and "Mother" placing fourth, grossing more than $8 million. The opening weekend gross of "Mother" is below the openings of Mr. Marshall's holiday-themed ensemble comedies "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve." 

The animated movie "Ratchet & Clank," which is based on a video game, placed below these films, grossing more than $4 million in its first weekend.

While summer blockbuster season is yet to come, "Jungle" is now the fourth-highest-grossing movie of the year so far, already having outstripped such films as 2015's "Cinderella" and 2014's "Maleficent." 

What has made "Jungle" such a hit?

Variety writer Dave McNary notes that the film has received many good notices. "Stellar reviews and strong word of mouth will have propelled the tale of an orphaned boy and talking animals," Mr. McNary writes. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer gave "Jungle" a B+ grade, writing, "The computer-generated effects are extraordinary.... Rudyard Kipling's stories, such as they have survived in numerous films over the years, still have a basic enchantment for children, and, because of the imaginative effects in this new film, adults may get caught up as well … wonderfully voiced characters." 

Meanwhile, Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations pointed out soon after the movie's release that the movie had little all-ages competition over the weeks after its opening weekend. Mr. Bock predicted the movie had a chance of hitting $1 billion in worldwide grosses. 

"It has nearly a full month to roam multiplexes as the only bona fide family blockbuster in theaters," he told The Wrap.

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