Although Disney’s last two attempts to bring back classic movies, Mary Poppins Returns and Dumbo, were not the overwhelming hits the studio was looking for, it appears that the Mouse House has righted the ship with Will Smith’s Aladdin. While it was a mixed bag with critics (56 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences turned out in huge numbers and delivered the film $112 million over the Memorial Day weekend, good for the fifth best Memorial Day weekend opener of all time, and second for Disney, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. In its first four days, it has already surpassed the overall domestic total for Dumbo.
The $112 million also bests Disney’s Memorial Day opener last year, Solo ($103 million), and is the second biggest opener ever for Will Smith, bested only by Suicide Squad ($133 million). It’s also the best opening ever for director Guy Ritchie, beating Sherlock Holmes at $62.3 million. It could not have come at a better time for Ritchie after two flops, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and the excellent Man from UNCLE. While critics mostly shrugged their shoulders at Aladdin, audiences were ecstatic with the result, giving the film an A Cinemascore.
Despite it being a big holiday weekend at the box office, holdovers nevertheless occupied the next four slots. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum had a 57 percent fall, but still earned a tidy $30.5 million over four days, and ends the holiday weekend over $100 million ($107 million), which is $15 million more than John Wick 2 earned over its entire run (and around $65 million more than John Wick). It’s also grossed $181.5 million globally, so far. In its fifth week, Avengers: Endgame continues to impress, earning another $20 million to bring its domestic total to $802 million. After the holiday weekend, it’s going to be less than $100 million away from besting Avatar as the biggest worldwide hit of all time. Pokemon Detective Pikachu is also hanging in, despite new competition from Aladdin, earning $17 million to bring its three-week total to $120 million.
James Gunn will probably be disappointed in the opening weekend numbers for Brightburn, although he only produced it (his brother and cousin wrote the film). The film — Superman crossed with The Omen — didn’t generate much business this weekend, earning only $9 million over four days. Reviews probably weren’t much help, although at 58 percent, it has the same RT score as Aladdin.
Meanwhile, the phenomenal Booksmart — the directorial debut of Olivia Wilde — could not convert all its SXSW buzz into a big opening weekend. It earned only $7.8 million over four days, which isn’t that bad for a teen movie, but also not terrific. I am confident, however, that it will find a lot of life in the home digital market and eventually become something of a cult classic for this generation of teens. Critics certainly loved it (97 percent Rotten Tomatoes), and I believe it will eventually find its audience.
The rest of the top ten were all leftovers. The Hustle scraped together $5.5 million, bringing its total to $31 million. With $5.4 million, A Dog’s Journey now has $16 million in the bank. The Intruder has $32 million after a $3.1 million weekend, and Long Shot is on the cusp of $30 million after a $2 million weekend.
Aladdin is not expected to maintain the number one position next weekend, as it will greet plenty of new competition. The Elton John biopic Rocket Man opens in 3,500 theaters, Jason Blum’s horror film Ma starring Octavia Spencer will take over 2700 theaters, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters opens in 4100 and expects to be King of the box office.