Box Office Wrap Up: Aladdin’s Wish Granted.
After a string of unsuccessful adaptations, Disney gets its wish with a big premier for Aladdin.
The Memorial Day weekend continues to shrink in importance to the overall box office, but that didn’t keep Disney from notching another holiday win with Aladdin. The second of three live-action adaptations from The Mouse faired much better than the first, nearly doubling Dumbo‘s opening weekend figures. Studio projections were understandably meek, given the diminishing numbers from both Memorial Day ticket sales and live-action adaptations, but Aladdin solidly outperformed the predictions.
The other two new releases, Brightburn and Booksmart, did not get their wishes this weekend. Both films fell well below projections despite solid critical receptions. The four day weekend numbers may help staunch the bleeding, but early figures don’t paint a pretty picture.
This Week in Box Office History.
Looking at just the traditional three day weekend, the box office was up 17% from last week but down about 17% from last year. The trend lines are a bit odd: Aladdin did a little better than Solo did last year in first place, and there were two other wide release films generating traffic, but the box office still shrank. It seems that the blame goes to Deadpool 2, who had a big second weekend last year which John Wick 3 couldn’t match. That helped propel 2018 to the first 200 million Memorial Day weekend since 2014.
Besides that one bright note, Memorial Day has been trending downwards for a decade. Whereas ten years ago the box office regularly hit the 200 mark, we’ve been slowly fading since 2015. The holiday was once the stomping ground of budget breaking sequels from franchises such as Fast and the Furious, X-Men, and Men in Black. Lately the weekend has become the property of Disney, which has been increasingly using the time spot for spinoffs, remakes, and the occasional new IP. The domestic flop of Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Tomorrowland seems to mark the end of the holiday heyday.
Top Film Last Year: Solo – A Star Wars Story.
Top Film Last Decade: Night at the Museum II.
Top Three Films.
Disney’s Aladdin took the top spot, putting away 86 million dollars domestically and 120 million dollars abroad. The film sported a hefty budget of 180 million dollars and had mixed critical reception, so genie isn’t completely home-free, but the big start might help to restore faith in Disney’s adaptations market. Those adaptations have been on shaky ground lately, with films like Dumbo, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Pete’s Dragon positively bombing. Even a mild success would be a good omen these days.
John Wick was number two with a bullet. It’s 24 million dollar take put the domestic tally at just over 100 million dollars. Chapter 3 is now the best earning member of the trilogy, making more than Chapter 2 did in its total run in just two weekends.
Avengers Endgame finished third this week with 17 million dollars. This week marked the first time it was out-earned by Avengers Infinity War in the same frame, showing how sharp of a drop-off the film has seen. The three day total was not quite enough to pop the film over the 800 million dollars domestic milestone, but the long weekend makes it a forgone conclusion. This will put Endgame 136 million behind The Force Awakens for the domestic crown and 100 million behind Avatar for the worldwide title.
Brightburn finished in fifth place, taking in just under 8 million dollars. The film had been projected to finish closer to ten million dollars. James Gunn is probably happy with the results, as the film only cost six million dollars to make and is getting mostly decent critical reception.
Booksmart faltered at just under 7 million dollars and sixth place. While coming of age comedies aren’t usually big draws, they generally make a bigger splash. Booksmart had been projected in the 9 million dollar debut range, and was the best rated film by critics of the three wide releases. No budget information is available, so it is up in the air how director Olivia Wilde’s first film sits when it comes to dollars and cents.
Top Ten Films.
1. Aladdin (90.4)
2. John Wick 3 (24.6)
3. Avengers Endgame (17.2)
4. Pokemon Detective Pikachu (13.3)
5. Brightburn (7.8)
6. Booksmart (6.9)
7. A Dog’s Journey (4.1)
8. The Hustle (3.8)
9. The Intruder (2.3)
10. Long Shot (1.6)