We flip the calendar to June, fresh off the ridiculous May, and end up going right back to waiting around for Marvel to work its magic again. Fortunately, the wait isn't long.
by Tim Briody
June 2, 2019
A Godzilla movie, on paper, is the perfect turn your brain off sort of nonsense that should play well in the summer. And indeed, the 2014 reboot opened to $93.1 million and earned $200 million domestically and $529 million worldwide. That turned into an expanded monster universe, or MonsterVerse, if you will, that Warner Bros. debuted in 2017 with Kong: Skull Island, which saw some diminishing returns kick in immediately with a $61 million opening and $168 million total, but $561 million worldwide.
We get a proper Godzilla sequel this weekend, and already penciled in for next spring is the logical followup, Godzilla vs. Kong. But we don't want to get too ahead of ourselves just yet.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters does win the weekend, though with a total of $49 million. That's a problem. Sort of.
That's a 47% drop from the opening weekend of Godzilla, which had the prime pre-Memorial Day weekend slot in 2014. The combination of the sequel being less special than the first one, plus the recurring theme of 2019 where without a real hook for audiences, they're more than willing to wait to see something equal this disappointing weekend total. (That said, from the title alone, Godzilla vs. Kong certainly has a hook.)
We're also gonna trot out the other excuse for any tentpole that comes in with a middling opening weekend: this one ain't for Americans. King of the Monsters already has $130 million in the bank internationally, and will ease some concerns about the reported $200 million production budget. With that opening weekend and based on the 2014 film's final total, King of the Monsters is already looking at a final domestic total that's just over the $100 million mark.
Aladdin suffers a post-holiday drop of 54% to $42.3 million in its second weekend and has $185 million to date. The drop was generally to be expected and the total so far is pretty respectable. This isn't another Dumbo for Disney, not that they've been devoid of hits in 2019 or anything like that. It gets some direct competition next weekend in the form of The Secret Life of Pets 2, so the road will still be pretty bumpy, but it's going to make a run at $300 million and considering all the jokes made about Blue Will Smith, it could have gone much worse.
Elton John biopic Rocketman doesn't quite blast off like Bohemian Rhapsody did last fall, but $25 million is a decent enough weekend. I do idly wonder if some people skipped it and assumed that this was rushed into production based on the success of Bohemian Rhapsody because a lot of people don't know how movies work.
Anyway, it was well liked by critics, rating 90% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, but viewers were a little shy, especially since the film doesn't hold back about the hedonistic aspects of Elton John's career in the early 70's. Those who did see it liked it a lot, as it had an A- CinemaScore.
Of all the films in theaters now, Rocketman stands the best chance to show some legs as the only real "adult" film in theaters. Paramount should still be satisfied, as it only cost $40 million to produce, and Rocketman will have made more than that back by the end of next weekend.
For some good box office news, Blumhouse is back! They're behind the horror/thriller Ma, which comes in with an $18.2 million weekend for a film made for the loose change found in your car (okay, actually $5 million but you get my point).
With Oscar winner Octavia Spencer slumming it in the titular role, there wasn't much else of a gimmick here, not that it matters, nor did the 62% Fresh (better than expected!) score from reviewers. It's a horror film from a known production company, and they turn out something audiences want to see on the cheap. In a film world now ruled by Disney, this is where it's at. Ma will fall off fast from here, but that absolutely doesn't matter. When you can call a film a winner after opening weekend, that's a good thing.
John Wick: Chapter 3 adds $11.1 million (down 55%) and has $125.7 million after three weekends. While it's expanded each time, they've also kept the budgets manageable for this franchise, with this one costing $55 million. It's still cool to see this franchise take off thanks to old school word-of-mouth.
Avengers: Endgame begins to wind down its run, adding $7.8 million (down 55%) and has $815.5 million in six weekends. While I was still pretty bullish on its chances even last weekend, $900 million is now extremely unlikely, which shows how quickly it burned out despite the record setting opening. $850 million seems like the final target for the original run, as I expect a major re-release either at the end of this year or early 2020 thanks to awards season.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu earns $6.6 million (down 50%) in its fourth weekend and has $130.6 million to date. Midweek earnings will send it past 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider for the highest grossing film adapted from a video game.
Critical darling Booksmart can't capitalize on its word-of-mouth as it drops 52% in its second weekend to $3.3 million and $14.3 million to date. It's going to have to settle for going down as a coming of age cult classic, and there can certainly be worse fates.
Brightburn sees the biggest drop of the weekend as the superhero/horror mashup plunges 70% to $2.3 million and has $14.2 million in two weekends. The concept might've just been too high concept for audiences to buy into this one.
The Hustle wraps things up this week, adding $1.3 million and giving the comedy $33.1 million in four weekends, as neither Anne Hathaway or Rebel Wilson were big enough names to carry a gender swapped Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. For Wilson, this doesn't come close to matching the $48.7 million she had with February's Isn't It Romantic.
The top 12 films this weekend earned $169 million. That's solidly ahead of last year's $100.3 million, when everything kind of got out of the second weekend of Solo: A Star Wars Story, which proved to be completely unnecessary in hindsight, as Solo led the weekend with $19.3 million and the top opener was Adrift with just $11.6 million
Next weekend we get animated sequel The Secret Life of Pets 2, and a return to the X-Men franchise with Dark Phoenix.