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'Godzilla' Looks to Become King of the Weekend Box Office

by Brad Brevet
 

 
May 30, 2019

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: WB's Godzilla: King of the Monsters brought in an estimated $19.6 million on Friday, which includes the $6.3 million from Thursday night previews. The question now is just how well it can hold on through the weekend. Kong: Skull Island brought in $20.1 million on Friday before a $61 million opening. However, it had a much smaller Thursday night preview performance, though it did match Godzilla's "B+" CinemaScore, which keeps the door open for a $50+ million performance.

Paramount's Rocketman brought in an estimated $9.2 million on Friday and is looking at a three-day performance that could reach $25 million. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Universal's release of Blumhouse's Ma scared up an estimated $7.2 million on Friday and is now looking at an $18-19 million three-day debut. The film received a "B-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: WB's Godzilla: King of the Monsters delivered a healthy $6.3 million in Thursday evening previews beginning at 4PM in approximately 3,600 locations. The performance is dramatically ahead of the $3.7 million brought in by Kong: Skull Island back in March 2017 ahead of a $61 million debut. It is, however, $3 million behind the first Godzilla movie, though that film debuted with a massive $93 million following its $9.3 million in previews. Other comparable preview performances include Shazam!'s $5.9 million, Detective Pokemon's $5.7 million, and the $5.9 million in previews for John Wick: Chapter 3 just a couple weeks ago ahead of a $56.8 million bow.

Paramount's Rocketman brought in $2.3 million in preview grosses, which includes $1.75 million from Thursday evening previews along with another $580k from a Fandango.com preview event on May 18. Comparatively, Bohemian Rhapsody brought in $3.9 million in previews ahead of a $51 million opening and A Star is Born grossed $4.55 million in previews, which included $1.35 million from two-day special screenings prior to release, eventually leading to a $42.9 million opening weekend.

Universal and Blumhouse's Ma grossed $1.4 million in previews from 2,400 theaters last night. Looking at some of the comps we referenced in our weekend preview below, Escape Room grossed $2.3 million in previews, Truth or Dare brought in $750k in previews and The Intruder delivered $865k in previews. The preview performance, in fact, is ahead of the $1 million in previews grossed by The Visit, which eventually opened with over $25 million in September 2015.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: The box office continues to improve as we get deeper into the summer movie season. At the beginning of the month the 2019 box office was -11.7% behind last year, but with the end of May on our doorstep we are currently -9.4% behind last year with the month of May just a shade behind May 2018 and the summer movie season currently pacing just ahead of Summer 2018, which ranked as the fourth largest summer of all-time. Looking to maintain the positive trend, this weekend will see Disney's Aladdin follow-up a strong, Memorial Day weekend debut while three new releases vie for a spot in the top five. Among them, WB's release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters is expected to deliver a #1 finish while Paramount's Rocketman debuts after a strong opening in the UK last weekend and Blumhouse's latest thriller Ma is also looking to spark some attention from the horror audience.

Opening in 4,108 locations, Warner Bros. will debut Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to the 2014 revival of Godzilla, which opened with a massive $93 million. The studio followed that film up with Kong: Skull Island in March of 2017 and it opened with $61 million domestically and now King of the Monsters serves as the third film in the studio's Monsterverse franchise and WB is anticipating an opening anywhere from $50-55 million.

A look at IMDb page view performance leading up to release shows the Godzilla sequel pacing well behind the original as well as behind Skull Island. In fact, it's pacing closer to Rampage, which opened last April with $35.7 million from 4,101 locations. Alternatively, online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports the film is outpacing Skull Island at the same point in the sales cycle. All told, we are currently trending right in the middle of the studio's anticipated range, looking for an opening right around $53 million. Screenings get underway today with previews beginning in ~3,600 locations beginning at 4PM.

Internationally, Godzilla opens day-and-date with the US in virtually all international markets including in China and Japan where the film is distributed by Legendary East and Toho, respectively. Among the handful of markets opening later in June are Spain and Poland.

Disney's Aladdin opened with the fifth largest Memorial Day opening of all-time last weekend and the question is whether it can hold on a bit better than recent films that finished with similar openings. The likes of Fast & Furious 6 and X-Men: Days of Future Past dipped -64% in their second weekends while Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End slipped -61.5% back in 2007. In fact, you look at most any of the recent Memorial Day openers and their second weekends feature 60%+ drops in their sophomore session. The question is whether the more family-friendly Aladdin manages to appeal to a wider demographic and can hold on a bit better. For our forecast we're going to assume so, anticipating a dip around -58%, though we wouldn't be surprised if it performs closer to the average or, perhaps, even goes the other way with something closer to a -50% drop and challenges for a $45+ million second weekend.

Paramount's Rocketman is looking at a third place start at this time as the R-rated musical fantasy inspired by the life of Elton John looks to find a similar place among 2019's releases to that of last year's Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born. To that point, while Rocketman is pacing behind A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody when looking at IMDb page view data, it is right in line with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which opened with nearly $35 million in July 2018, all of which has us looking at a debut performance well ahead of the $18-20 million Paramount is anticipating. In fact, with the film launching in 3,610 locations and receiving a majority of positive reviews — 73 on Metacritic and 90% on RottenTomatoes — we see no reason to expect much less than $30-35 million if not more.

Internationally, Rocketman opened in the UK last week and has grossed over $8.6 million as of this past Tuesday. This weekend the film expands to a further 39 markets including France, Italy, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and Spain.

Universal's latest collaboration with Blumhouse Productions is this weekend's release of Ma, which is expecting a strong start for the $5 million production as it debuts in over 2,700 locations. Starring Octavia Spencer, the thriller is pacing similarly to this year's January release of Escape Room ($18.2m opening) when looking at IMDb page view data while also outpacing the likes of The Intruder ($10.8m opening) and 2018's Breaking In ($17.6m opening) and pacing slightly behind April 2018's Truth or Dare ($18.6m opening). The studio is anticipating an opening in the mid-teens and everything we're seeing suggests the same, which has us looking for an opening around $15-17 million.

Internationally, Ma opens day-and-date with North America in 36 international markets, including Brazil, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. & Ireland, with additional markets rolling out through the summer.

Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter 3, which we're expecting to dip -45% or so for a three-day around $13.5 million, pushing the film's domestic cume closer to $130 million as it enters its third week in release.

Overall, we're looking for the top twelve to dramatically outperform the same weekend last year, delivering around $185+ million for the weekend, continuing to close the yearly gap compared to 2018.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (4,108 theaters) - $53.0 M
  • Aladdin (4,476 theaters) - $38.3 M
  • Rocketman (3,610 theaters) - $32.0 M
  • Ma (2,808 theaters) - $17.0 M
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (3,604 theaters) - $13.5 M
  • Avengers: Endgame (3,105 theaters) - $11.2 M
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu (3,147 theaters) - $8.3 M
  • Brightburn (2,607 theaters) - $4.0 M
  • Booksmart (2,518 theaters) - $3.7 M
  • A Dog's Journey (1,674 theaters) - $1.9 M

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