Disney’s “Aladdin” is expected to soar at the domestic box office when it debuts over Memorial Day weekend.
The studio’s latest live-action remake should earn $80 million when it opens May 24, according to early tracking. Box office watchers believe ticket sales could near $100 million through Monday, when kids are out of school for the holiday. That number could fluctuate in the three weeks leading up to the film’s arrival as Disney finalizes its marketing rollout. We can only assume those efforts include taking extra steps to assure audiences that Will Smith’s disturbingly blue Genie, which caused hysteria on Twitter after the first trailer dropped, won’t be so jarring on the big screen.
If estimates hold, that launch would be closer to recent Disney re-imaginings like Jon Favreau’s “Jungle Book” ($103 million) and “Beauty and the Beast” with Emma Watson ($174 million). “Jungle Book” raked in an impressive $966 million globally, while “Beauty and the Beast” collected a mighty $1.2 billion in ticket sales worldwide.
“Aladdin” is the second of three Disney remakes arriving in theaters this year. Tim Burton’s “Dumbo” bowed this March with a tepid $45.9 million and has picked up $107 million in North America and $221 million overseas. Favreau’s highly anticipated adaptation of “The Lion King” releases July 19.
Guy Ritchie is directing “Aladdin,” based on the 1992 animated classic about a street rat who sees his wishes granted after freeing a genie from his lamp. The musical film stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Smith as Genie, Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as the villainous Jafar.
Memorial Day weekend marks one of the busiest weekends of the year for moviegoing, so “Aladdin” is hardly the only new wide release. Sony/ Screen Gems and the H Collective’s “Brightburn,” an R-rated superhero horror film starring Elizabeth Banks, is also opening alongside “Booksmart,” a raunchy comedy from first-time director Olivia Wilde, and “Ad Astra,” an astronaut drama with Brad Pitt.
There’s an asterisk next to “Ad Astra,” however. Disney acquired the sci-fi drama after closing its $71 billion merger with Fox, but the studio hasn’t done any promotion for the film. It didn’t appear on tracking boards with its fellow weekend releases, so it seems pretty likely that its release date will be moved.
Elsewhere, “Brightburn” is expected to make $10 million to $12 million in its first three days of release. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn produced the thriller, which centers on an otherworldly child who arrives on Earth with sinister intentions.
The final newcomer, “Booksmart,” is on track to earn $10 million over the weekend. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein co-star in the buddy comedy about two by-the-rules high school graduates who go on a bender on their last day of classes. It premiered at South by Southwest to rave reviews and currently holds a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.