In a weekend which saw the release of a sequel to the half-a-billion dollar 2014-hit ‘Godzilla’, the true winners lay with the counter-programming, as a micro-budgeted horror and an R-rated musical truly stole the show. ‘Ma’ and ‘Rocketman’ opened to a combined $44m, while ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ couldn’t even hit $50m in a weekend which also saw Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ continue its princely run with $40m+.
How did the new releases get on?
It’s not a flop, but it doesn’t look good for Warner Bros, as ‘Godzilla 2’ opened to just $47.8m this Box Office weekend – nearly half the opening of its predecessor ‘Godzilla’ ($93.2m), and even less than fellow MonsterVerse-r ‘Kong: Skull Island’ ($61m). The monster film was forecast to open with a $60m-ish roar, but has instead suffered a crucial blow in its hopes to become a true domestic hit.
How did this happen? Well, its critical reception didn’t help, with the film’s 39% on Rotten Tomatoes not being fully rectified by its B+ on Cinemascore. It could also be argued that once you’ve seen a ‘Godzilla’ film, you’ve seen them all, although the addition of monsters such as Mothra and King Ghidorah should’ve ideally drawn more of an audience. Regardless, Warner Bros now sits on a property unlikely to even hit a $150m domestic total, with an opening weekend multiplier similar to ‘Godzilla’ leaving the film on a paltry $103m.
It wasn’t all bad, though, as its international opening saw a massive $130m earned from 75 countries, including $70m from China, and $4.4m from the United Kingdom. It’s clear where Warner Bros believe the film’s true market is, however even with an overseas total exceeding expectations, the studio will be disappointed with its stateside gross thus far.
It was a better weekend for Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’, who blasted into 3rd place with a $25.7m opening. The film boasts both excellent critical and audience reviews, the latter especially depicted best by it’s A- on Cinemascore, which should aid a long leggy run this summer in the spirit of ‘A Star is Born’ last year.
Both were R-rated musicals beloved by critics and fans alike, and although both ‘A Star is Born’s opening ($42.9m) and domestic total ($215.3m) eclipses ‘Rocketman’s most optimistic chances, the Paramount picture stands a strong chance of breaking the $100m barrier, a feat the studio hasn’t achieved since last year’s ‘Bumblebee’.
Finally, Blumhouse’s ‘Ma’ got off to a strong start, earning $18.1m between Friday and Sunday night. The horror, starring Octavia Spencer, was produced on just a $5m budget, continuing the Blumhouse legacy of low-cost, high-grossing releases (think ‘Get Out’, and ‘Split’).
The release marks Blumhouse’s 3rd of the year after ‘Glass’ and ‘Happy Death Day 2U’, and further establishes the production house as the leaders in the horror genre, with all 3 films earning a combined $150m at the domestic Box Office in 2019. With 3 more films in the pipeline before Christmas, the studio can only go from strength to strength.
How did the others do?
It was another strong weekend for ‘Aladdin’, with the musical-remake flying in with another $42.8m for a running total of $185.5m. With its global take of $445.9m, the film stands as the 7th biggest of the Disney re-imaginings, and will surely pass ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ (and potentially Cinderella) by next weekend.
This weekend also saw ‘Avengers: Endgame’ pass the $2.7bn global mark, leaving it $75m away from breaking ‘Avatar’s $2.79bn record. To become the highest grossing film of all time, however, the film will have to improve upon weekends such as this one, which saw ‘Godzilla 2’ snatch at its audience, leaving it to earn just $8m – a 53% drop.