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411 Box Office Report: Aladdin Dominates For #1 Start, BrightBurn Opens Quietly

May 26, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Will Smith Aladdin

Prince Ali reigned supreme at the box office this weekend, as Aladdin powered its way to an easy #1 start. Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of one of their animated classics soared above expectations with $86.1 million over three days and an estimated $105 million take over four days. That’s well above the $70 million that most estimated the film would bring in for the three-day weekend.

The start represents a win for a studio that has had trouble with Memorial Day weekend openings in recent years. Disney’s past efforts for the holiday weekend have included 2017’s Alice Through the Looking Glass ($26.9 million), 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ($30.1 million) and last year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story ($84.4 million), all of which were disappointments compared to what the studio had projected. Aladdin continues Disney’s banner year, and overcomes a host of negative factors that had analysts unsure how well it would perform.

And to be sure, there were a lot of negative factors heading into the weekend. In addition to Disney’s past struggles over Memorial Day, there was the fact that Aladdin has not done much to build moviegoer confidence. The first trailer garnered more attention for Will Smith’s divisive look as Genie than any kind of positive buzz, while critic’s scores weren’t stellar at a 58% consensus on Rotten Tomatoes. It turns out that most (though not all) of the negative online reaction came from those who didn’t intend to see the film, though. Among those that did see it, Aladdin is scoring well. The A CinemaScore reps a big victory for the studio and should help with family word of mouth in successive weeks.

The question now becomes, of course, how far Aladdin can fly. Disney’s live-action adaptations average a 3.09 on the whole and if that holds for Aladdin, we’ll be looking at around $260 million to $265 million. It seems more likely to perform like Malificent, which opened on Memorial Day weekend in 2014 and was, like Aladdin, a modestly-liked film from critical perspective but beloved by fans. Following that trend would put the film closer to $300 million domestic by the time it’s done. The smart estimate seems to be around $270 million to $275 million, as Aladdin has more robust competition than Malificent did. That will be enough for a big hit, especially considering international grosses. Thus far the film has $121 million overseas for a $207.1 million worldwide start. Even with a $183 million budget, this film is in fine shape.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum took an expected hit in its second weekend, down to $24.4 million over three days and an estimated $30.5 million for the full four-day weekend. The action threquel repped 57% drop, heftier than the 45% drop of the first film and 47% drop of the second. With Parabellum opening so strong, that was expected. The film currently sits at $101 million domestically and $175.4 million worldwide on a $55 million budget, meaning it’s already in great shape. It seems on target for a $160 million final domestic gross and possibly a bit more, making it a huge success for Lionsgate..

Avengers: Endgame eased a bit, down 44% in its fourth weekend with $16.8 million ($21.9 million for the four day weekend). The MCU blockbuster now stands at $798.2 million domestically and $2.678 billion worldwide. It is the #2 film in both categories, $110 million behind Avatar for the worldwide record. It’s still a question as to whether it will top Avatar’s number there, but the point is that it’s a massive hit on a $350 million budget.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu was down 47% in its third weekend with $13.3 million ($17.2 million over four days). The live-action/CGW hybrid adaptation now has a healthy $116 million domestically and $352.9 million worldwide, sitting pretty against its $150 million budget. Pikachu should close out with about $155 million domestically, a hit for Warner Bros.

BrightBurn was somewhat crowded out by the higher-profile films at the box office. The James Gunn-produced horror take on the Superman story brought in $7.5 million over three days and an estimated $9 million for the four-day weekend. Screen Gems was hoping for around $10 million over three-days, so this isn’t the best news. BrightBurn was undoubtedly a risk for the studio; after all, the novel concept riffs on of a DC franchise that has been disappointing far more than the likes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman. And Superman fans don’t all dig an evil version of their character.

Really though, the big issue is that Sony and Screen Gems didn’t do enough to build awareness. Chalk that up in part to the uproar over Gunn’s old social media comments late last year; the film was pulled from a scheduled November release date and wasn’t promoted at Comic-Con as was planned because of the comments. That said, those who did see it didn’t love it; critics gave it a mild 59% on RT and while there was no CinemaScore, PostTrak has audience reactions at 2.5 stars. The good news is that the film cost just $6 million, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get back the budget. The film should finish with about $25 million or so, and overseas grosses could push it into profit. Right now it has $7.8 million internationally for $15.3 million worldwide.

Olivia Wilde’s deirectorial debut Booksmart was also quiet, opening with just $6.5 million ($8 million over four days). Again, the studio was hoping for more; in this case, UA was looking at $8 million over three days. That’s not disastrous, but it’s slightly disappointing for a film that was very well-reviewed (98% on RT) and well-liked by those who did see it (B+ CinemaScore). Those factors should help the movie in successive weeks, but this is a film that probably should have been platformed up to build buzz. As it stands, the United Artists teen comedy should end at around $20 million domestically. No word on its budget.

A Dog’s Journey had a second-weekend drop of 49%, high for its genre, to finish with $4.1 million. By comparison, A Dog’s Purpose dropped 43% with a much higher start and January’s A Dog’s Way Home (an unrelated film, despite the similar title format) dropped just 36% in its second frame in January. A Dog’s Journey now has $14.9 million domestically and $46.5 million worldwide. Like A Dog’s Purpose, it should be in fine shape thanks to foreign grosses. It will finish off with around $25 million in the US and will be a profit on a $22 million production budget.

The Hustle eased 38% in its third weekend with a very solid $3.8 million ($4.8 million through Monday). The comedy now stands at $29.8 million domestically and $66 million worldwide, with a $40 million domestic total likely.

The Intruder was down 44% in its fourth weekend, bringing in $2.3 million ($2.9 million in four days). The thriller is now sitting at $31.9 million domestically, and $32.7 million worldwide, on its way to about $38 million or so stateside. That will be enough for a little profit on a $8 million budget and moderate marketing.

Long Shot closed out the top ten with $1.6 million, down 53% in its fourth weekend. The rom-com is now up to $28.7 million domestic and $38.9.8 million worldwide, a bit of a loss for Lionsgate against its $40 million budget. It should close off its domestic run at around $34 million.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters arrives to try and take down Genie at the box office next weekend, aiming for a $50 million to $55 million debut that may be enough to top Aladdin. Also opening is horror-thriller Ma, targeting $20 million to $25 million, and Elton John biopic Rocketman which hopes for $35 million to $40 million.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Aladdin – $86.1 million ($86.1 million total)
2. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – $24.4 million ($100.1 million total)
3. Avengers: Endgame – $16.9 million ($798.2 million total)
4. Pokemon Detective Pikachu – $13.3 million ($116.1 million total)
5. BrightBurn – $7.5 million ($7.5 million total)
6. Booksmart – $6.5 million ($6.5 million total)
7. A Dog’s Journey – $4.1 million ($14.9 million total)
8. The Hustle – $3.9 million ($29.8 million total)
9. The Intruder – $2.3 million ($31.9 million total)
10. Long Shot – $1.6 million ($28.7 million total)