Aladdin outperformed expectations and earned one of the best Memorial Day weekends of all-time at the domestic box office. In addition to their lucrative subsidiaries like Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar, Disney has found great success recently producing live-action remakes of their animated classics. New versions of Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast were all major hits, proving there was a large audience interested in seeing fresh spins on familiar stories. The 2017 Beauty and the Beast even made over $1 billion worldwide.
This year, the trend hit a rough patch when Tim Burton's Dumbo could only muster $112.9 million domestically for its entire run. Around the same time, Aladdin was generating negative backlash due to the questionable CGI effects on Will Smith's Genie (among other aspects), raising questions if the enterprise of live-action remakes was nearing its expiration date. But then Aladdin earned surprisingly positive reviews as it was about to enter theaters, and now it's proven to be a monster success.
Per Box Office Mojo, Aladdin earned $112.7 million over the 4-day Memorial Day weekend, which is the fifth-highest all-time for the holiday. It passed X-Men: Days of Future Past, which grossed $110.5 million in 2014. Worldwide, Aladdin has brought in $233.7 million, already making back its $183 million production budget.
With this, Aladdin becomes the latest 2019 blockbuster to surpass its early projections. Going into the weekend, some analysts had it pegged for just $75 million in the first four days, so Guy Ritchie's film definitely struck a chord with viewers and there are a few reasons why. There was a demand for a new family film post-Avengers: Endgame. Detective Pikachu has performed fairly softly the past three weeks (its domestic total is only $120 million), so Aladdin seemed to fill a void. Additionally, it's based on one of the more famous Disney animated films of the past 30 years - the original Aladdin was part of the Mouse House's renaissance period that also included works like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. There was a sizable built-in audience curious to see how the story was interpreted in live-action. It also didn't hurt word-of-mouth was pretty good; Aladdin didn't really recapture the magic of the 1992 version, but it was still very enjoyable.
Disney will certainly be happy with these results, as it proves Dumbo was merely a fluke and there's still money to be made by redoing the old animated hits. Aladdin's opening weekend bodes well for The Lion King, which is already poised to break records when it debuts in July. It'll be interesting to see how strong Aladdin's legs are with other tentpoles like Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Dark Phoenix on the way, but this is a strong start for a film that was seriously doubted at one point during its advertising campaign.
Source: Box Office Mojo
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019