Much like Thanksgiving, Disney is attempting to make the Memorial day weekend its territory. What used to be the traditional start of the summer film season (the studios have stretched it to parts of April now) is still looked at as fertile. For the past five years the studio has released a major summer blockbuster for the four day weekend, to the tune of major returns (with the exception being “Alice Through The Looking Glass” collapsing in 2016.)
This year was reserved for one of the studio’s live-action remakes of its animated famous animated titles, dubbed “vault classics”. To go along there are a number of other smaller films vying to get some holiday money in niche categories, made tougher by a slate of strong holdovers. Here are the 3-4 day totals for what is an overall a very flush holiday frame.
ALADDIN – $86.1/105 Million
A bit of a surprise move having British action director Guy Ritchie making this one, but Disney likes to turn to named directors for these re-imaginings. There were all sorts of speculation surrounding this remake. The initial idea seemed like it was a slam dunk, but there was some negative reaction to the early trailers with a blue Will Smith as the Genie. Adding to the mystery was the earlier disappointing performance of the live-action “Dumbo” this Spring. As it turns out this played in exactly the opposite fashion of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last Memorial Day. That one started strong and then faded quickly through that weekend, becoming a money loser for the studio. This time they watched a similar opening get better, exceeding what the projections were, and ultimately performing better than “Solo”.
2. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – $24.3/30.5m
Taking a steeper drop than the earlier films at -58% this is largely due to it being far more popular at the opening than those first two films. This is evidenced by it already outgrossing those in just its second weekend.
3. AVENGERS: ENDGAME – $16.8/21.9m
At the five-week mark this now has become only the second film to ever earn $800 million in North America, behind “The Force Awakens”, which it will not reach for the all-time record of $936 million. The lone question is if it can achieve the all-time global mark of $2.788 billion. That will depend on how well it continues to play in foreign markets. It will take a few more weeks to see if the film has the momentum to keep lurching towards that landmark.
4. POKEMON-DETECTIVE PIKACHU – $13.3/17.2m
Another live-action mashup with Ryan Reynolds voicing the titular character has been a hit for Warner Brothers/Legend Pictures. It stands now with a total of $120 million.
5. BRIGHTBURN – $7.5/9.0m
Sony initially felt it had a buzzworthy anti-hero effort here, as tis is a superhero/horror hybrid. Produced by “Guardians Of The Galaxy” director James Gunn it was rescheduled after Gunn came under controversy last year. But the movie did not move the needle, with initial reveals at ComiCon. The reviews are mixed, and worse the exit polls of audiences were largely negative. Although relatively inexpensive Sony tried to save money on advertising for what it viewed as a losing venture.
6. BOOKSMART – $6.5/8.0m
The racy female comedy has received a lot of positive attention. Rotten Tomatoes score is stirling at 98%, and the audience CinemaScore is a strong “B+”. The studio went with a targeted online ad campaign for the younger crowd, but despite the stirling favorabilities it seems the appearance of being a millennial female story limited the audience interest.
7. DOG’S JOURNEY – $4.0/5.4m
The yet another dog-centered film held respectively well, at -50%, but last week’s soft opening will need a longer run to recoup the investment. It sits at only $16 million earned to this point, and the summer is only going to become more crowded.
8. THE HUSTLE – $3.8/4.8M
This female comedy remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” has just struggled, barely making it to the $30 million mark after 3 weeks. The only bit of good news is that it dropped a relatively lower -700 screens this weekend, considering how weak it has performed. Not likely to stretch things out too much further however.
9. THE INTRUDER – 2.2/2.9m
Looking like it is just as dismal, earning $33 million after 4 weeks, the difference is in the upfront exposure. The budget for this one was less than half, and it has the chance of actually turning a profit.
10. LONG SHOT – $1.5/2.0m
Living up to its name this Seth Rogan comedy still has not reached $30 million after one month in theaters.