This summer has proven to be quite the competitive box office season, at least domestically, with no film able to repeat at the top of the chart since “Avengers: Endgame” ruled for three weeks straight. While that reign ended only a handful of weeks ago, even movies that failed to topple Marvel’s magnum opus have proven to have great holdover potential. Warner Brother was hoping to continue the trend of different box office winners and the success of one of its own cinematic universes with a new “Godzilla” movie debuting to cap off the month of May and kickstart the month of June. Two other potential hits, “Ma” and the Elton John biopic “Rocketman”, looked to provide heavy competition and shake up the top five on the chart which has been nothing short of a log jam the past few weeks. Was “Godzilla” the king of the box office or did other films overpower the legendary monster? Let’s find out in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
It was, in fact, the king himself Godzilla that took home the crown as Warner Brothers scored their third chart-topper in their Legendary MonterVerse with “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. This continues a strong year for WB, the home of three cinematic universes including the “Conjuring” Universe and the DC Extended Universe, who previously found success in 2019 with box office toppers “The Curse of La Llorona”, “Shazam!” and the carryover hit from 2018 “Aquaman”. Released through Legendary Entertainment, a Chinese media company that works with WB and Universal on film releases, “King of the Monsters” is the third entry in the Legendary MonsterVerse and the precursor to the upcoming 2020 release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” in March. With a debut of $49 million over the weekend “King of the Monsters” ruled the roost but brought in the least impressive domestic debut of any film in its cinematic universe so far. The original 2014 entry, “Godzilla”, earned over $90 million in its debut while “Kong: Skull Island” which focused on Godzilla’s American rival King Kong roared to a $61 million debut in 2017. “King of the Monsters” came into the weekend with expectations of up to $55 million and couldn’t reach even the low point of those estimates despite receiving decent fan reactions. That said “King of the Monsters” played well internationally, earning another $130 million from 75 markets with China being the largest international market for the film. It topped the debut numbers from the likes of “The Meg” and its own predecessor “Godzilla” showing great interest overseas. You can read my review of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” here.
“Godzilla’s” weekend competition caused a huge shakeup at the box office with two more new entries in the top five pushing out a few big names from the top of the chart. Coming in second was last week’s number one, Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin”, which took in an impressive sophomore weekend gross of $42 million trouncings the other two new entries in the field. “Rocketman” debuted at number three with great reviews helping earn it plenty of attention as alternate viewing scoring a $25 million opening weekend. The Elton John biopic performed well above expectations and is a rare treat that scored well with critics and audiences on aggregate websites with some even putting it ahead of recent biopics like “The Dirt” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a more respectful handling of a real-life musical legend. With that said I just didn’t have the time to see the movie this past weekend. I will be seeing it soon and I expect to review “Rocketman” this week. The movie I chose to see instead was “Ma” which came in fourth for the weekend and let’s just say I wasn’t impressed. Other critics gave it middle-of-the-road reviews, but it still managed to grab a following with an above-expectations $18.2 million domestic debut with the largest percentage of the audience, 36%, being African Americans keeping in line with the growing trend of black-led horror hits…although I would never put “Ma” in the same boat as the previous 2019 hit “Us”. You can read my review of “Ma” here. “John Wick: Chapter 3″ fell hard to number five after topping the chart two weeks ago.
Looking outside the top five you may notice one significant name missing from the above paragraph, “Avengers: Endgame”. All good things come to an end and it appears Marvel’s massive phenomenon is finally losing steam falling out of the top three AND the top five for the first time in its run landing at number six. After holding strong despite losing to “Endgame” several weeks back, “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” also fell from the top five landing in seventh. “Booksmart” and “Brightburn”, two films that debuted on Memorial Day weekend, fell to eighth and ninth while “The Hustle” rounded out the top ten. “A Dog’s Journey”, “The Intruder” and “Long Shot” all fell from the top ten while elsewhere Disney’s “Dumbo” remake continued to make a surprisingly strong last-minute push after jumping to eleventh last weekend and only falling two spots to 13th this weekend in just 230 theaters nationwide.
Next week could bring us the fourth different box office chart-topper in as many weeks with the long-delayed “Dark Phoenix” being the first contender. The final movie in the original “X-Men” franchise that sparked the superhero movie craze at the beginning of the millennium, “Dark Phoenix” will also be the first film released under Disney since its purchase of Fox. This is the second attempt at adapting the titular comic storyline after “X-Men: The Last Stand” which is seen by many as the worst film in the original trilogy. Despite the long wait, anticipation still seems high for this sequel and even if it fails to impress there’s another sequel on the way this coming weekend that could also take the top spot. Universal will release “The Secret Life of Pets 2” through the Illumination banner which is scheduled to hit 4,400 theaters to “Dark Phoenix’s” 3,500 settings up what should be an interesting battle for dominance this time next week. We’ll have to wait and see how everything shakes out.