It’s shaping up to be a strong Memorial Day weekend at the Box Office, with Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ looking to fly into 1st place with a $70m opening. It’ll be accompanied by fellow new entrants ‘Brightburn’, the Sony horror produced by James Gunn, and UAR comedy ‘Booksmart’, starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, as both aim to make strong starts over the holiday period.
So, what’s opening this weekend?
‘Aladdin’, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Will Smith, Mena Massoud, and Naomi Scott, is the latest in the Disney conveyor belt of live-action remakes. The film sees Aladdin (Massoud) fall in love with Princess Jasmine (Scott), and with the help of a magical Genie (Smith), must defeat the evil Jafar.
It hasn’t been a smooth conception for ‘Aladdin’; criticism at Disney’s approach to the casting process soon became embarrassment at the state of Smith’s Genie in the 1st teaser, and with middling critical reviews and a general feeling of fatigue surrounding the live-action adaptations, Disney could be in for another flop after ‘Dumbo’ grossed just $111.6m domestically from a $170m budget.
Luckily, Memorial Day provides a welcomed boost, with families across the country set to hit the cinemas in droves. Although the film won’t reach Disney’s heights (or lows, depending on how you see it) of last year with ‘Solo’s $84.4m 3-day opening, ‘Aladdin’ benefits from its 1992 source material by still being relevant in the public’s eye. That, star Will Smith, and very little family-friendly competition outside of ‘Detective Pikachu’s 3rd weekend should see a relatively good opening at $70m over the 1st 3 days, and around $86m by Monday night – not the worst start from an eye-watering $183m production cost.
Following far behind is ‘Brightburn’, the superhero horror film directed by David Yarovesky and starring Elizabeth Banks and David Denman. Produced by James Gunn and written by his brothers Mark and Brian, the film cost a minuscule $6m to produce, similar to other Sony hits of the year ‘Escape Room’ and ‘The Intruder’. Although it won’t hit the $18m opening heights of ‘Escape Room’, ‘Brightburn’ should, in theory, capitalize on the lack of competition with a strong $11m start in its 1st 3 days.
This leaves ‘Booksmart’ to go, and while the comedy won’t be as popular as the above, it’ll do a fine job in itself this weekend with an $8m opening. Boasting a spectacular 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film, which marks Olivia Wilde’s directing debut, follows 2 graduating high school friends attempt to have a wild night on the last day of school and has been described as the new ‘Superbad’. United Artists Releasing, the studio dealing with distribution, have been in charge of bomb ‘Missing Link’, and disappointment ‘The Hustle’. Wilde and company will hope ‘Booksmart’ won’t make it a hattrick.
What else is on?
Last weekend’s winner ‘John Wick 3’ won’t go down without a fight, with the film looking to earn a relatively strong $28m during the 3-day weekend, and by Monday night will have passed the $100m domestic barrier with ease, becoming the biggest film in the franchise both stateside and globally. It’ll also become Lionsgate’s biggest ever domestic hit outside of the ‘Hunger Games’ franchise, an incredible achievement for the recently-troubled studio.