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Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Stomping to $55 Million-Plus Debut as ‘Rocketman’ Battles ‘Ma’

Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” should rule box office charts when it debuts in 3,600 North American venues this weekend.

The monster movie, a sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla” and the 35th feature about the titular beast, is expected to earn $50 million to $55 million during its first three days in theaters. Should estimates hold, that would be enough to claim victory over fellow newcomers, Paramount’s “Rocketman” and Universal’s “Ma.”

Some industry watchers predict “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” the third installment in Legendary’s MonsterVerse, could reach $70 million in its debut. Even those box office heights would fall significantly short of its predecessor, which launched with $93 million and went on to collect $200 million at the domestic box office and $529 million globally. “King of the Monsters” is eyeing a start closer to “Kong: Skull Island,” the second entry in Legendary’s monster franchise. The King Kong reboot bowed with $61 million, ending its box office run with over $566 million worldwide.

Directed by Michael Dougherty, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” follows the eponymous monster who faces off against his nemesis, King Ghidorah, and other ancient mythic creatures who are wreaking havoc on Earth. The film stars Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown and Bradley Whitford. The sequel has garnered mixed reviews, with Variety’s Owen Gleiberman calling it “a spectacular clash of the titans, but this one has a less commanding balance of schlock and awe.”

“Godzilla” won’t be the only seemingly otherworldly being entering multiplexes this weekend. “Rocketman,” a fantasy musical about the life of Elton John, is also hitting theaters. The jukebox biopic should amass around $20 million from 3,600 venues, with some box office analysts estimating a start north of $30 million. Since premiering at Cannes, “Rocketman” has generated solid reviews, notably for Taron Egerton’s portrayal of the songwriting legend.

While the film will inevitably draw comparisons to Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Oscar-winning Queen biopic that took in an electrifying $903 million in global ticket sales, the R-rated “Rocketman” tackles much darker themes that could make it less likely to play in more conservative movie markets such as China. Even so, John is an iconic figure around the world and Egerton’s take on his greatest hits could translate into a crowd pleaser. The studio anticipates that “A Star Is Born” and “The Greatest Showman,” two musical films with modest debuts that built an audience over time, will be more accurate comparisons.

“Rocketman” already blasted off overseas, launching in the United Kingdom last weekend with $8.6 million. It opens in 39 international territories, including France, Italy and Australia, this weekend. Dexter Fletcher, the filmmaker who took over “Bohemian Rhapsody” after Bryan Singer was fired, directed the movie, which captures how a small-town boy became one of the biggest names in showbiz. Jamie Bell plays Bernie Taupin, John’s longtime writing partner, while Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard round out the cast.

This weekend’s final nationwide release is Universal and Blumhouse Productions’ “Ma,” a horror movie starring Octavia Spencer. The psychological thriller is expected to make between $18 million and $22 million from 2,700 screens. Spencer plays a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends some high schoolers after they ask her to buy alcohol for them. After Ma lets the teenagers party in her basement, things start to take an obsessive and creepy turn. Tate Taylor, the director behind “The Help” and “Girl on the Train,” helmed “Ma.”

Unless “Rocketman” or “Ma” become breakout hits, “Aladdin” should nab second place on box office charts. Disney’s remake of the Arabian musical about a charming street rat bowed with $91 million last weekend and picked up $116 through Memorial Day. If it sees a hold similar to other Disney reboots like “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Dumbo,” “Aladdin” could add another $36 to $45 million during its second weekend in theaters.

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