Godzilla is beating out fellow newcomers Rocketman and Ma, which are looking at first frames of $22 million and $20 million, respectively. Disney’s Aladdin is expected to gross $41 million in its second frame — a respectable number, but not enough to repeat as the box office champ.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters‘ opening simply has to be seen as a disappointment after Gareth Edwards‘ 2014 franchise starter opened to $93.1 million, while Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ Kong: Skull Island grossed $61 million in its first frame. For those keeping score at home, those numbers are trending the wrong way. Critics aren’t helping the cause, as King of the Monsters has a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel is performing in line with expectations, albeit the lower end. Next week brings even more competition in the form of Dark Phoenix and The Secret Life of Pets 2.
Having said that, Godzilla II: King of the Monsters, as it’s known overseas, is performing well at the international box office, opening in 75 markets this weekend, including China and Japan. The film claimed the top spot in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong, doubled the openings of both Godzilla and Skull Island in Indonesia and Thailand, and is on pace to gross $18 million on Friday in China, surpassing the opening day results of similar films such as Rampage and Pacific Rim.
Also opening this weekend are the Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton as the iconic musician, and Blumhouse’s horror movie Ma starring Octavia Spencer and Diana Silvers, who was just named Collider’s Up-and-Comer of the Month. Critics are largely falling for Rocketman, which boasts a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While the subject matter is similar to that of Bohemian Rhapsody, and the two films do share a director in Dexter Fletcher, the Freddie Mercury movie opened to $50 million en route to becoming the highest-grossing drama of all time. Meanwhile, Ma is performing right in line with other Blumhouse movies, which routinely open in the ballpark of $20 million, if not higher. Reviews have been mixed, but for Ma to challenge Rocketman for third place on a much lower budget has to please Universal execs.
As for the holdovers, Aladdin is experiencing a steep drop of over 50%, having opened to $91.5 million over the three-day weekend ($116 million total for the four-day Memorial Day weekend), That’s not great, but the film did over-perform in its first frame, which balances the scales a bit. Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 will finish in fifth place with $10 million. The ultra-violent sequel has taken in $114 million stateside in just 17 days, which is more than both of its predecessors.
Elsewhere, it’ll be interesting to see whether positive word-of-mouth for Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut Booksmart, will lead to a stronghold for the coming-of-age comedy. The film’s solid reviews didn’t translate into dollars last weekend, but Annapurna kept its marketing spend low, which should help in the long run.