If you’d have told me just five years ago that Guy Ritchie, the English director behind edgy Tarantino rip-offs like Snatch, was going to direct a live-action version of Aladdin starring Will Smith as a rapping genie, I’d have bet you my life savings that you were mistaken.
But here it is, the No. 1 film in the country as of last weekend, Disney’s much discussed remake of one of their most beloved intellectual properties.
Despite being something of a punchline since Disney started releasing clips from the film earlier this year, Aladdin dominated the Memorial Day box office, taking the No. 1 spot with $86 million in domestic sales. Add in foreign returns and Ritchie’s latest movie, made on a $183 million budget, has already topped the $200 million mark in just three days.
Tim Burton’s live action remake of Dumbo, released less than two months ago, didn’t fare as well, selling just $112 million in the U.S. over its theater run. That film, of course, didn’t have Will Smith in it, and also got panned pretty hard by the critics, receiving an aggregate score of just 51/100 on Metacritic.com.
Next up in the 2019 trilogy of Disney live-action remakes is Jon Favreau’s star-studden retelling of The Lion King (July 19), which seems to be shaping up nicely. Look for The Lion King to get much better reviews, and returns, than Aladdin or Dumbo. (And probably do so well that Disney will make a terrible sequel.)
Also at the Box
Despite its clunky title, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum continued to roll at the box office, taking the No. 2 spot over its second weekend of release with another $24 million in domestic sales. So far the film has already brought in $175 million worldwide in just 10 days, already making it by-far the most successful film in the franchise. We can look forward to this John Wick guy popping up every two or three years for the next decade, I’d bet.
Avengers: Endgame, the most star-studded film ever made, continued to chip away at the all-time highest grossing film mark, taking the No. 3 spot at last weekend’s box office with another $17 million in sales, upping the flick’s five-week worldwide sales total to just under $2.7 billion. Oof. The flick is now just $111 million away from passing Avatar for the all-time best selling movie ever made.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu took the No. 4 spot at the domestic box, selling another $13.3 million over the weekend and bringing the flick’s 17-day worldwide sales total to $352 million. Not bad for a movie that a lot of people predicted would bomb. So I guess we can plan on at least two more of these movies, as well as some other anime spinoffs.
And finally, at the No. 5 spot, we have horror flick Brightburn, starring Elizabeth Banks. The flick took in a slightly disappointing $7.8 million at the domestic box over its first three days of release, while Olivia Wilde’s amazing new R-rated high school comedy, Booksmart, took the No. 6 spot with $6.5 million. If you liked Superbad, this is one you’ll almost certainly enjoy.
New this Week
Three films, all of which have the potential of both being very good and doing well, will open wide this weekend, starting with Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The epic, big budget sci-fi/action hybrid film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farminga, Sally Hawkins, Ice Cube Jr., and the great Ken Watanabe, and looks to be the rare big dumb summer blockbuster that I’ll leave my house to see. The buzz on this one is strong thus far.
Next up is Tate Taylor’s new Blumhouse thriller, Ma, starring Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, and Juliette Lewis. Blumhouse is on a roll right now, with basically all of their films earning back their budget, and some (e.g. Get Out) making serious bank.
And, finally, we have Dexter Fletcher’s long-awaited Elton John biopic, Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton (aka young Hans Solo) in the titular role. This one premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last week and received a five-minute standing ovation.
With the success of Bohemian Rhapsody last year (which Fletcher helped direct after Bryan Singer was fired), look for Rocketman to surprise with some big numbers. It’s hard to forecast just how well it will do in this very busy box office, but something tells me Rocketman is going to make some bank. Probably not anywhere near Bohemian Rhapsody numbers, but likely a couple hundred million or more in worldwide sales. Also, word on the street is that Rocketman is a much better film than Bohemian Rhapsody, so there’s that, too.
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June 20 • The Clyde