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The Jungle Book makes a hit in India too

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Cast member Neel Sethi poses at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Director of the movie Jon Favreau (R) poses with cast members (L-R) Ritesh Rajan, Giancarlo Esposito, Lupita Nyong'o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley at the premiere of "The Jungle Book" at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Director of the movie Jon Favreau (R) poses with cast members (L-R) Ritesh Rajan, Giancarlo Esposito, Lupita Nyong’o, Neel Sethi and Ben Kingsley at the premiere of “The Jungle Book” at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

By Dave McNary

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Disney’s “The Jungle Book” showed serious traction at the North American box office, dominating moviegoing for a second straight weekend with $60.8 million at 4,028 locations.

The family-friendly tentpole declined only 41% from its opening frame and left Universal’s launch of “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” in the dust with $20 million at 3,791 locations.

“The Jungle Book” posted the best second weekend of 2016, topping the $56.5 million second frame for “Deadpool,” and will wind up the weekend with $191.5 million after ten days — already the fourth-largest 2016 title behind “Deadpool” at $361 million, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” at $319 million and “Zootopia” at $316.4 million.

Internationally, the results are equally impressive with an additional $96 million and a decline of only 32% from the prior weekend for an international total of $337 million and global cume to date of $528 million. “The Jungle Book” is the highest-grossing Hollywood release in India with $28.8 million and is less than $3 million short of the $100 million mark in China.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” starring Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain and Charlize Theron, debuted at the low end of forecasts in North America with $20.1 million amid mostly downbeat reviews and a B+ CinemaScore. The audience was 61% female and 53% under 30.

The prequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” carries a price tag of $115 million, so the studio will need a strong international performance to break even. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” had already opened in 27 foreign territories last weekend and added 37 more for a weekend of $32.1 million in 64 territories for an international total of $80.2 million.

In China, “The Huntsman” opened in third place with $11.1 million at 5,932 sites behind the second week of “The Jungle Book” and a local film.

The first “Huntsman,” starring Kristen Stewart as Snow White, was a solid box office performer with a $56.2 million opening weekend in the U.S. on its way to a $155 million domestic total, plus another $241 million overseas.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, noted that the new “Huntsman” had been hit by tough reviews while the original benefited from Stewart’s participation while she was starring in the “Twilight” franchise.

He added that the sterling performance by “The Jungle Book” signals strong continued moviegoing in the upcoming weeks with Disney-Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” launching on May 6.

“You could not ask for a better lead in for the upcoming start of the summer movie season of 2016 than ‘The Jungle Book,'” Dergarabedian said. “Its incredible (and somewhat unexpected) success is stoking the fires of box office momentum and is loading up multiplexes with herds of film fans of all ages who are getting pumped up and ready for the official start on May 6 with the incredible ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and then the onslaught of blockbuster hopefuls from every studio week after week.”

“‘The Jungle Book’ proves that a four-quadrant PG-rated movie can have appeal to virtually every demographic and with the quality of moviemaking to back up the hype, the results have been staggering,” he added.

Next Story

Microsoft Ready to Help Indian Startups, Says President Anant Maheshwari

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Armed with a cutting-edge technology platform, a well-established partner organisation and an expansion of M12 venture fund, Microsoft is ready to help Indian startups across the spectrum embrace the next phase of growth, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said here on Monday.

India, which saw a tremendous growth in the startup space in the last couple of years, is now witnessing a growth in the business-to-business (B2B) tech startups coming up with innovative ideas to deal with local problems.

“With our intelligent tech expertise, deep focus on trust and unique global go to market partnering, we empower unicorns and startups to scale sustainably at a global level,” said Maheshwari.

“We remain excited about India’s entrepreneurial startup potential and will continue to accelerate it as a growth engine for the economy,” he added.

India witnessed a dramatic rise of eight unicorns in 2018 from among the start-ups across verticals as against a mere nine in six years from 2011 till 2017, according to IT industry apex body Nasscom.

The start-ups joining the select club for their valuation over $1 billion are Oyo Rooms (hospitality), Zomato and Swiggy (food delivery), Udaan (retailer marketplace), Byju’s, (edu-tech), Paytm Mall (e-tail), Freshworks (software programmer) and Policybazaar (digital insurance).

Maheshwari said Microsoft is uniquely positioned to support Indian startups to achieve scale and evolve from market ready to enterprise ready.

Microsoft, Taiwan AI
A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

The introduction of M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, in India in February is creating new value for startups, VCs and the company itself to maintain the pace and direction of innovation.

“M12 is looking at investing in innovators who have aligned their focus on cutting-edge technologies that better enable digital transformation. The portfolio development team at M12 is specifically built to help support and scale companies by leveraging the expansive resources of Microsoft,” said the company.

According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 — 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.

Also Read: Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

Under the “Microsoft for Startups” initiative, startups can co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs in the global arena and mentorship from industry veterans.

In less than 18 months, Microsoft for Startups has closed more than 120 co-sell deals with more than $126 million in active pipeline for startups.

Microsoft is focused as much on selling third party solutions as their own, and this co-sell motion has helped generate $8 billion in revenue for partners within 18 months. (IANS)