The Jungle Book
Mowgli takes it easy with Balu (voiced by Bill Murray) in The Jungle BookWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Disney's live-action remake of its own cartoon version of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book wildly surpassed all expectations to rake in an estimated $103.6m (£73m) on its opening weekend.

The Jon Favreau-directed, PG-rated adventure based on the classic 1894 story of the boy Mowgli (played by Neel Sethi) who is raised in the jungle by wolves became the second-biggest April opening in movie history, surpassed only by 2015's Furious 7 which pulled in $147m (£104m).

"This is a flat-out stunner. No one expected that The Jungle Book would make this much; the projections just continued to build throughout the weekend," Paul Dergarabedian, media analyst for comScore, told USA Today. "This wasn't just playing for kids and families. It played to audiences across the board like an action adventure."

Jungle Book audiences were almost evenly split between age groups – 25 and up represented 49% of sales while under 25s accounted for 51%. Moviegoers aged 18 to 24 led the pack after purchasing 33% of the tickets, according to comScore surveys.

Critics and fans are raving about the film, which preserved the basic songs from the 1967 cartoon, and many of the same personas of the original characters, like sinister Shere Khan the tiger (voiced by Idris Elba), lazy bear Baloo (Bill Murray) and wise, protective panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley). But the remake has a darker, more intriguing edge with a real boy and photo-realistic animals and scenes made possible by groundbreaking computer generated imagery.

IBTimes UK called the film the "undoubtedly the best Disney live-action adaptation to date." The film won a 95% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Barbershop: The Next Cut, the third in the Barbershop comedy series, made its debut in second place with $20.2m, and Melissa McCarthy's The Boss came in third for the weekend with $10.2m after its first-place box-office showing the previous week.