‘Aladdin’ Flies High Over Holiday Weekend

Aladdin, Disney’s latest live-action raiding of its animated ark, took moviegoers on a cinematic magic carpet ride this weekend at theaters across North America. The comedy/fantasy easily soared past the competition, which included the low openings for Brightburn and the acclaimed indie comedy Booksmart.

Figures reported in this article are based on the three-day weekend frame.

The Mouse House’s latest attempt to make original filmmaking a thing of the past, Aladdin opened on 4,476 screens Thursday night where it went on to score an estimated $86.1million. The Guy Ritichie film also scored a magical $121 million from international markets this weekend.

The global start for the $183 million production -starring Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith- was a bit of relief for Disney Studios, who were still licking their wounds from the underwhelming box office runs of the expensive Mary Poppins Returns and this spring’s Dumbo, which was directed by Tim Burton.

Much like the Burton bust, reviews were mostly mixed for Ritchie’s take on Aladdin. The musical comedy scored a 58% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 54/100 on Metacritic. Ticket buyers with fond memories of the 1992 animated version showed more love for the new version than the press, giving Aladdin an “A” on CinemaScore.

With big box office numbers and positive feedback from the public, there is little doubt that Disney is already preparing to shove an Aladdin franchise down our collective throats over the next few years. After all, they have the animated sequels The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves to work off of. Who knows? If any possible sequels do well, maybe we will finally see Aladdin IV: Jafar Needs Glasses become a $200 million reality as well.

In its second weekend on 3,850 screens, Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum shot down 57% less business to earn an estimated $24.3 million. The ten-day total for Mr. Wick’s latest adventure stands tall at $101 million after ten days. John Wick 3 should have enough box office stamina in it to finish with roughly $145 million domestically. Overseas, Parabellum has earned $74 million to date.

Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame landed in third place with an estimated $16.8 million from 3,810 screens. Down 44% in its fifth weekend, Fat Thor and his pals have now brought in $798 million in North America and an additional $1.879 billion overseas. It will cross the $800 million mark on Monday.

For those keeping track, Endgame is now $110 million shy of Avatar’s all-time global gross of $2.78 billion.

Warner’s Pokemon: Detective Pikachu landed in fourth place with an estimated $13.3 million from 3,824 theaters. Down 47%, Detective Pikachu has earned $116 million in North America and an additional $236.8 million overseas.

Rounding out the top five was Sony/Screen Gems’ superhero horror flick Brightburn, which had a dim start of only $7.5 million from 2,607 theaters. Reviews were mostly dismissive for the James Gunn-produced flick: 59% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 45/100 on Metacritic. Still, with a budget of only $6 million, Brightburn should have the strength to fly into profitability before too long.

  1. Booksmart (United Artists/Annapurna) $6.5 million

Reviews were all-around excellent for Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut: 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 85/100 on Metacritic. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to entice audiences to skip the franchises and try something original instead this weekend. The R-rated teen comedy will have to rely on word-of-mouth over the next few weeks to keep it afloat.

  1. A Dog’s Journey (Universal) $4 million (-49%); $15 million
  2. The Hustle (UA) $3.8 million (-38%); $30 million
  3. The Intruder (Sony/SG) $2.2 million (-44%); $31.9 million
  4. Long Shot (Lionsgate) $1.5 million (-53%); $28.7 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Warner’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the Elton John biopic Rocketman and the horror film Ma. Depending on what type of drop Aladdin experiences, Rocketman or Godzilla may become the new King of the Box Office.

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