Aladdin is Disney's next big blockbuster this summer, and it certainly has the budget of a studio tentpole. Over the past several years, the Mouse House has been in the business of producing live-action remakes of some of their animated classics, bringing new versions of tales like The Jungle Book, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast to the big screen. The latest addition to this ever-growing list is Aladdin, a fresh spin on the 1992 hit. It arrives in theaters just two short months after Tim Burton's Dumbo.
Not every Disney live-action remake has been financially successful (see: Dumbo, Alice Through the Looking Glass), but most have posted strong numbers at the box office. It's easy to forget now, but Alice in Wonderland is a member of the $1 billion club (as is Beauty and the Beast, for that matter), and Jon Favreau's Jungle Book was such a big hit, it landed him the Lion King job. Obviously, Disney is banking on Aladdin to be part of the "successful" group - and it needs to earn a healthy amount to become profitable.
The live-action Aladdin's budget is reportedly $183 million, making it one of the more expensive Disney remakes in this modern stretch. As a comparison, The Jungle Book cost $175 million, Maleficent cost $180 million, Beauty and the Beast cost $160 million, and Cinderella had a price tag of just $95 million. Aladdin's budget is also higher than some comic book adaptations, like Captain Marvel and Aquaman.
With this, it means Aladdin needs to earn approximately $366 million just to make its money back, so it really has to end up in the neighborhood of Cinderella ($543.5 million) or Maleficent ($758.5 million) in order to go down as a bona fide hit. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out; Aladdin is one of the most popular titles of Disney's 1990s renaissance and has a sizable fan base that will probably be interested in seeing the classic story on the big screen again. There's also not much in the way of direct competition this weekend. Avengers: Endgame is finally starting to slow down, and the other wide releases this weekend are targeted towards more niche demographics. It seems like it could get off to a good start, especially since early reviews and reactions were surprisingly positive.
The verdict on Aladdin likely won't come until it's revealed how strong its legs will be. Summer sees a plethora of tentpoles vying for ticket sales, and they're going to start coming out at a rapid pace now. Next week sees the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Dark Phoenix is also on the way. And as beloved as the animated Aladdin is, the live-action remake doesn't have the same feeling of an event like, say, July's The Lion King has. It's hard to see it being a dominant force that stays at the top of the charts for an extended period of time, which will hurt its longterm prospects. Hopefully it gets a nice boost from the international box office and go down as a hit.
- Aladdin (2019) release date: May 24, 2019