Aladdin Rules Box Office

“Aladdin” Wins the Box Office Against Our Wishes


May 24-26, 2019

(estimates from


Aladdin  $86.1 million
John Wick: Chapter 3  $24.6 million
Avengers: Endgame  $16.8 million
Detective Pikachu $13.3 million
Brightburn $7.5 million


In a sad picture of what the box office is going to look like for the foreseeable future, a live-action Disney remake took the top spot, even outperforming expectations. It's likely to earn more than $100 million for the full four-day holiday weekend. Despite being roundly mocked online for Will Smith's odd-looking blue Genie and uninspired recreations of classic songs like "Prince Ali," audiences flocked to yet another unoriginal Disney property, despite a critical shrug. By this time next week, it will have already made more than Dumbo did in its entire run. And there are two more on the way this year alone: The Lion King – which could easily open close to $200 million – and a sequel to Maleficent. The self-fulfilling prophecy seems to be coming true: audiences will only come out to the theater for big action and family movies, leaving dramas and comedies for adults to languish and die, and hopefully get discovered on streaming. Thus studios focus on big action and family movies, and put out fewer and fewer dramas and comedies for adults.

John Wick: Chapter 3 continued to build on its success. This edition crossed $100 million, something no other entry had been able to do, and it did that in only 10 days. It's no surprise a sequel has been announced for May 2021. Avengers: Endgame dropped to third, and it couldn't quite cross the $800 million mark. It's still $111 million shy of beating Avatar for the international crown. I still think it will get there, but it's hitting the brakes a lot faster than I expected.

Detective Pikachu fell to fourth place, where it's not even getting a pika-pika at $125 million yet. Worldwide it's not at the magical $400 million yet either. The world of Pokémon will continue, but perhaps not at the multiplex. (Maybe on WarnerMedia's new streaming service?) Brightburn, a horror take on the Superman mythos, managed only $7.5 million. But it cost only $6 million, so it's already in the black. This is Screen Gems' second straight cheap thriller that's paid off for them. (The Intruder is the other, and has already passed bigger-profile films like The Hustle and Long Shot.)

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Echo in the Canyon, a doc on the Laurel Canyon music scene. Proving boomers still aren't sick of nostalgia for the music of the '60s and '70s, the film averaged a whopping $51,858 on its pair of screens.
  • Booksmart may have had critics on its side – 99% on Rotten Tomatoes – and a lot of good will built up, but audience either didn't know or didn't seem to care. Annapurna has had great success with picking fascinating projects, but so far has not had a single breakout hit, and several outright flops. It might be time for a major studio (not Disney) to swoop in and give them the big-money backing they need to save the day.
  • Biggest Little Farm continued its upward trajectory. The documentary added 135 screens and moved up to 15th place.

Next week:

Godzilla tries to prove he's still King of the Monsters. The trailers have been truly impressive, though I don't think this will be able to match its predecessor's $93 million opening. $65 million sounds a lot more reasonable. Look for Rocketman to have a massive third-place opening with north of $30 million. And Ma should do just fine on its own, taking in around $12 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.