Just a day before its theatrical release, Disney’s live-action update of Aladdin had its review embargo lifted. The big-budget fantasy, which casts Will Smith in the genie role made iconic by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated feature, could’ve certainly fared worse. Based upon fears from a poorly received first trailer, some wondered if the pic would be a disaster. Most critics, while certainly mixed with some negative, haven’t been too harsh. It stands at 60% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Particular praise has gone to the performances of Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, who respectively play the title character and Princess Jasmine.
When it comes to these updates of studio classics, many in the past decade have scored technical nods. This includes AliceinWonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, TheJungleBook, and BeautyandtheBeast. In 2019, Aladdin will find itself competing for space with three other Disney live-action renderings: the already released Dumbo, this summer’s TheLionKing, and this winter’s Maleficent: MistressofEvil. Don’t be surprised if TheLionKing gets the lions share of attention.
That said, Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling could be the two best possibilities here. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
The second of four live-action renderings of Disney animated features in 2019, Aladdin is wishing for bountiful box office returns over Memorial Day weekend. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the musical fantasy adventure casts Will Smith as the genie in a role made iconic in 1992 by Robin Williams. In the title role is Mena Massoud with Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine. Costars include Marwan Kenzari, Nasim Pedrad, and Billy Magnussen.
Reaction to the teaser was mixed at best. The full trailer was better received. The film follows this spring’s Dumbo, which was a bit of a disappointment with a $45 million opening gross. TheLionKing will follow later this summer with Maleficent: MistressofEvil in the year’s fourth quarter.
While there’s little doubt Aladdin will rule the holiday frame, it’s got a wide range of possibilities. The Mouse Factory’s largest start for one of its reimaginings was 2017’s BeautyandtheBeast, which roared to $174 million. Don’t expect anywhere near that kind of number. Some forecasts are putting this in the $100 million four-day ballpark, but I have serious doubts about that.
I could actually see this performing similarly to Mr. Smith’s other Memorial Day opener – 2012’s MIB3, which earned $69 million. For a Disney comp, there’s 2015’s Cinderella with its $67 million haul. Given that there’s an extra day involved, I’ll bump Aladdin up slightly.
Aladdin opening weekend prediction: $74.8 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
It’s Easter weekend at the box office and we have three new pictures opening. There’s The Darkness (TheCurseofLaLlorona), The Light (Breakthrough), and The Penguins (Penguins). Two of them will attempt to dislodge Shazam! from its two-week perch in the top spot. Yet this holiday frame will likely be known as “the one before Avengers: Endgame opened”. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:
TheCurseofLaLlorona takes place in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, but it hasn’t really been marketed heavily as such. Therefore I believe it will easily have the lowest debut of the franchise, but still manage to top the charts.
Breakthrough has the potential to do just that with faith-based crowds. I do question whether it can manage to achieve what HeavenIsforReal accomplished five Easter’s ago ($29 million for its five-day gross). Debuting on Wednesday, I’ll say mid teens for the traditional weekend and low 20s when factoring in the extra days.
Penguins is the latest DisneyNature venture. The latest efforts in the series have earned between $4-$5 million for their starts. This opens on Wednesday as well, so I’ll put it a touch under. My $3.5 million Friday to Sunday projection ($5 million five-day) puts this outside my top five.
Shazam! should slide to third after two weeks in first position with Little coming in fourth. As for the five-spot, I’m saying CaptainMarvel. It should experience a smaller percentage decline than Hellboy and Dumbo. That could be good enough to take it from sixth to fifth before she joins her superhero pals next weekend in Endgame.
And with that, my take on the holiday weekend:
Predicted Gross: $20.1 million
Predicted Gross: $16.9 million (Friday to Sunday); $22 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Predicted Gross: $14 million
Predicted Gross: $7.8 million
Predicted Gross: $6 million
As expected, Shazam! retained its perch on top with $24.4 million, a bit lower than my $28.2 million prediction. The DC tale is sniffing the century mark after ten days with $94 million.
The Regina Hall comedy Little led four newcomers in second with $15.4 million, managing to exceed my $14 million projection.
The story of the weekend was the pitiful performance of Hellboy. The comic book based reboot bombed with just $12 million in third, under my $17.4 million take. This potential franchise pretty much ended before it began.
PetSematary was fourth in its sophomore outing with $9.7 million (I said $10.5 million). Total is $40 million.
I incorrectly had Dumbo outside the top five and it made $9.4 million to bring its tally to $90 million.
College romance After was eighth and topped most estimates with $6 million. I was much lower at $3.7 million.
Finally, Laika Animation has its worst opening by a lot. MissingLink, despite positive reviews, couldn’t find an audience. It took in just $5.9 million for ninth. I was considerably higher at $11.7 million.
A quartet of new titles attempt to knock critically acclaimed superhero Shaza! out of the top spot this weekend, but that looks to be a tall order. We have comic book franchise reboot Hellboy, Laika Animation’s MissingLink, Regina Hall comedy Little, and college set romance After. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
There is a great deal of uncertainty with how the newbies will perform this weekend. It seems highly likely, on the other hand, that DC’s newest crime fighter will retain the top spot. After premiering right in line with expectations, I have Shaza! dipping in the mid to high 40s and comfortably staying first,
Hellboy is a known brand, but it’s been a decade since the character was onscreen. Buzz seems very muted, but I’ll still say a high teens opening should be enough to nab it the runner-up spot. I’m shaky on it though.
Little has breakout potential, but I’m not willing yet to predict high teens. My lower teens estimate puts it in third and that’s just ahead of MissingLink, which I’m projecting will hit the lower debut end of other material from its studio.
After is a real head scratcher. The novel it’s based on has its fans. It opens on the smallest number of screens for the debuts (about 2000). I’m going pretty low with $3.7 million and that’s well outside the top 5. Yet the potential for it to surprise is real.
PetSematary could fall from second to fifth in its sophomore frame with about a 50% dip. That’s pretty normal for horror pics.
And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $28.2 million
Predicted Gross: $17.4 million
Predicted Gross: $14 million
Predicted Gross: $11.7 million
Predicted Gross: $10.5 million
As mentioned, DC had a nice weekend as Shazam! hit its mark with $53.5 million, just ahead of my $52.5 million take. Sporting solid reviews, it should make a sizable chunk of change before The Avengers roll in at month’s end.
PetSematary posted a decent start in second with $24.5 million. It also had critical stamp of approval. The Stephen King adaptation fell quite a bit shy of my generous $34.7 million prediction.
The middling news for Dumbo continued. After a lackluster start, the elephant tale was third in weekend #2 with $18.2 million. My estimate flew higher at $22.3 million. The two-week tally sits at $76 million.
Us was fourth with $13.7 million in its third outing, falling behind my expectation of $16.6 million. However, the $20 million horror pic has amassed $152 million thus far.
CaptainMarvel rounded out the top five with $12.4 million (I said $12.2 million) for $373 million overall.
Finally, the civil rights drama TheBestofEnemies underwhelmed in sixth with just $4.4 million compared to my $5.9 million forecast.
Blogger’s Note (04/04): On the eve of their premieres, some changes:
Shazam! from $59.5 million to $52.5 million
PetSematary from $28.7 million to $34.7 million
April has sprung at the box office and we have three new wide releases hitting multiplexes: critically hailed DC superhero pic Shazam!, Stephen King adapted horror remake PetSematary, and civil rights drama TheBestofEnemies with Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:
I’m on the higher end of the range with Shazam!, believing it could reach awfully close to $60 million or over and easily bolting into the top spot. Sematary could also exceed my estimate, but I’ll go high 20s for a second place showing. As for Enemies, I’m not as optimistic and my $5.9 million prediction would put it at #6.
Holdovers Dumbo and Us could be in line for drops close to 50% in their second and third respective weekends with CaptainMarvel rounding out the top five.
And with that, my view of the frame ahead:
Predicted Gross: $52.5 million
Predicted Gross: $34.7 million
Predicted Gross: $22.3 million
Predicted Gross: $16.6 million
Predicted Gross: $12.2 million
Tim Burton’s live action version of Disney’s Dumbo had no trouble hitting #1, but did so with rather mediocre results. Coming off mixed reviews, the elephant tale managed $45.9 million. That’s quite lower than my $55.6 million projection. That’s far less than other recent Mouse Factory renderings of their animated classics.
Us fell to second with a mid 50s dip to $33.2 million. I forecasted more at $38.4 million. Yet the $20 million budgeted horror flick stands at $127 million in just ten days.
CaptainMarvel was third with $20.6 million (I said $20.2 million) for $353 million total and $400 million in its sights.
The success story of the weekend was pro-life Pure Flix drama Unplanned, which easily exceeded expectations in fourth with $6.3 million. I was considerably lower at $2.6 million.
FiveFeetApart was fifth with $6.1 million (I said $5.9 million). Tally is $35 million.
With Unplanned reaching the top five, that put WonderPark in sixth with $5 million – on target with my $4.9 million prediction. The animated feature has earned $37 million.
HotelMumbai expanded to nearly 1000 screens and was eighth with $3.1 million compared to my $3.4 million.
Finally, Matthew McConaughey had yet another box office wipeout as TheBeachBum was tenth with $1.7 million (I said $1.6 million).
Disney’s live-action version of their 1941 classic Dumbo arrives in theaters on Friday and the review embargo was lifted today. Tim Burton’s take on the flying elephant is the first of four Mouse Factory updates on their animated tales hitting screens in 2019.
The advance word out is quite mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 51%. No one seriously expected this would contend for Best Picture, but previous Disney updates in recent years have fared well with Oscar voters with technical nods.
Burton’s own AliceinWonderland in 2010 won Best Art Direction (now Production Design) and Costume Design and landed a nomination in Visual Effects. Costume Design nods were received by Maleficent in 2014 and by Cinderella the following year. In 2016, TheJungleBook emerged victorious in Visual Effects. BeautyandtheBeast nabbed nods for Production and Costume Design.
That’s a solid track record. Where’s that leave Dumbo? Tough to say at this juncture. Even the negative skewing reviews have praised the visuals. Yet there will be a lot of competition and that includes the other three live-action updates arriving later: Aladdin, TheLionKing, and Maleficent: MistressofEvil. Even more potentially serious competitors include Avengers: Endgame and the next StarWars.
Costume Design and Production Design remain more realistic possibilities. Bottom line: Dumbo could continue the recent tradition of this sub genre getting down the line category attention, but competition will be key. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Blogger’s Note (03/27): My Dumbo prediction has dropped from $65.6 million to $55.6 million.
After Us rocked the box office this past weekend, a quartet of newcomers open nationwide on Friday: Tim Burton’s live action rendering of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo, true life action thriller HotelMumbai, Pure Flix pro-life drama Unplanned, and Matthew McConaughey stoner comedy TheBeachBum. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
Dumbo should have little trouble flying into the winners circle. I have it slated for a mid 60s opening. That’s far from what the Mouse Factory achieved with the non drawn versions of BeautyandtheBeast and TheJungleBook and more in line with 2015’s Cinderella.
The remainder of the premieres may all have trouble reaching the top five. Mumbai could fare the best after a decent limited release start, even though it’s on less screens than Unplanned or TheBeachBum. I have those titles hitting just $2.6 million and $1.6 million, respectively. I’m a bit more optimistic with Mumbai, putting it at $3.4 million.
A big question this weekend is how far Us will drop after its fantastic performance out of the gate (more on that below). It stands to reason that this will be more front loaded than Jordan Peele’s GetOut, which rode a wave of water cooler chatter. I foresee a dip in the mid to possibly high 40s range.
CaptainMarvel, FiveFeetApart, and WonderPark could populate the rest of the high-five, assuming none of the new trio not named Dumbo manages to exceed expectations.
Here’s my take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $55.6 million
Predicted Gross: $38.4 million
Predicted Gross: $20.2 million
Predicted Gross: $5.9 million
Predicted Gross: $4.9 million
As mentioned, acclaimed horror flick Us dominated the charts and proved that its maker Jordan Peele is a valuable commodity at the moment. Taking in $71.1 million (well past my $58.8 million projection), Us is the largest live action feature based on original material since 2009’s Avatar. It doubled the $33 million brought in by Peele’s breakout GetOut. With a meager $20 million budget, it’s safe to assume the champagne bottles are popping over at Universal.
CaptainMarvel dropped to second after two weeks on top with $34.2 million, just under my $36.4 million estimate. The MCU effort has amassed $320 million thus far.
WonderPark was third with $8.7 million. I was a little higher at $10.4 million. The two-week tally is $29 million.
FiveFeetApart was close behind in fourth with $8.5 million (I said $7.7 million) and $26 million overall. I expect Park and Feet to flip positions this weekend.
HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld rounded out the top five with $6.5 million compared to my $6.1 million prediction. Its total is $145 million.