Disney's live-action Aladdin remake is set to pass the $900 million mark at the worldwide box office. This summer has been particularly unkind to major studio tentpoles, with the likes of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Dark Phoenix, and Men in Black: International posting all-time worst opening weekends for their respective franchises. More recently, the marketplace rebounded nicely with the one-two punch of Toy Story 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but overall it's been a pretty disappointing stretch at the movies.
Due to negative pre-release buzz, many expected Aladdin to have a poor commercial performance, but the opposite happened. Debuting with one of the best Memorial Day weekends ever, the film maintained strong legs all throughout June and eventually became the highest-grossing film of Will Smith's career. After more than a month in theaters, it's still scoring milestones at the box office.
According to Deadline, Aladdin is poised to earn $900 million globally, joining pretty rare company at Disney. Excluding live-action films produced by one of their lucrative subsidiaries, the only Mouse House titles to earn that much are Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, and a trio of Pirates of the Caribbean installments. Additionally, Aladdin is the third-highest grossing movie of the year, behind only Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel.
This is quite an accomplishment for a movie whose prospects were doubted only a handful of months ago. Unlike the movies listed at the top of this post, Aladdin benefitted from positive word-of-mouth. Professional reviews were surprisingly good, painting the new Aladdin as a fun family/adventure film, even if it didn't entirely recapture the magic of the original. For audiences, Aladdin remains one of the most popular Disney animated titles and was at the forefront of the studio's 1990s renaissance. It has a large fan base that was excited to see a fresh take on the classic story. Plus, it opened at a time when competition wasn't too severe and it was able to take advantage of a fairly barren landscape (Endgame had already done a majority of its damage at this point). For those reasons, Aladdin did well even as other films opened in theaters.
With this month's The Lion King also projected to score huge figures, Disney isn't going to stop the trend of remaking their animated hits in live-action any time soon. They have Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Mulan on the schedule, and they're also putting the pieces together for The Little Mermaid, casting Halle Bailey as Ariel. This strategy has proven to be a goldmine for Disney, complementing their plethora of other projects (Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, etc.) very well.