'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' reigns over box office in opening weekend
Godzilla roars his way to the top of the box office once again.
The latest entry in the cinematic MonsterVerse, which includes the first Godzilla reboot from 2014 and Kong: Skull Island, is living up to its title. Godzilla: King of the Monsters takes the weekend’s box office crown with an estimated $49 million in ticket sales across 4,108 theaters.
Last week’s Disney blockbuster Aladdin continues to hold strong, taking second place with an estimated $42.3 million haul across 4,476 theaters. Another new release rounds out the top three — Elton John biopic Rocketman scores third place with an estimated $25 million take across 3,610 theaters.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third film in a tenuously connected Warner Bros. MonsterVerse. The film stars Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, and Millie Bobby Brown as a family that who finds their lives colliding with the infamous monster as Godzilla faces up against even more monstrous beings — Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Ken Watanabe also feature in the film directed by Michael Dougherty.
Though it won the box office this weekend, Godzilla: King of the Monsters still fell short of expectations, which had the film finishing the weekend with around $50 million. It also falls behind the previous two entries in the MonsterVerse by quite a lot. 2014’s Godzilla opened to a monstrous $93.2 million, while 2016’s Kong: Skull Island took in $61 million in its first weekend in theaters. The film did fare slightly better overseas, taking in $130 million for a global total of $179 million. But lackluster reviews and a B+ CinemaScore suggest it won’t show much momentum in the weeks to come.
In counter-programming to the blockbuster monster movie, this weekend saw the release of two other films — musical biopic Rocketman and horror thriller Ma. They took third and fourth place at the box office respectively.
The long in the works biopic about Elton John’s rise to fame, Rocketman opens to a respectable $25 million. The R-rated film, which premiered to mostly positive if not enthusiastic reviews at the Cannes Film Festival in May, follows Elton John from his days as a precocious piano-playing youngster through to his stint in rehab a few decades into his explosive fame as a rock star. Taron Egerton stars as John, while Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jamie Bell help round out the cast. Dexter Fletcher directed the film, which uses John’s songs to turn his life into a literal musical.
Though a solid opening weekend, Rocketman falls behind last fall’s Bohemian Rhapsody, also directed by Fletcher, which opened to $51.1 million. Bohemian Rhapsody, which tells the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen, went on to win several Oscars and take in a $216.4 million haul during its release. Rocketman earned a solid A- from audiences, but its R-rating could potentially keeping its box office numbers below the PG-13 Bohemian Rhapsody.
The weekend’s another new title, Ma, takes fourth place with an estimated $18.3 million across 2,808 theaters. The horror thriller is from scare masters Blumhouse Productions and Universal, and it stars Octavia Spencer as the titular Ma. Re-teaming with her The Help director Tate Taylor, Spencer stars as a lonely woman in a quiet Ohio town, who befriends a group of teenagers that she invites to party in her basement. Their friendship quickly becomes something more sinister. Juliette Lewis, Allison Janney, Missi Pyle, and Luke Evans also star.
Ma marks the fifth best opening for an Octavia Spencer film, coming in right behind The Help’s $26 million opening. Audiences didn’t love the horror flick, giving it a dismal B- CinemaScore, but critics were middling on it.
While Keanu Reeves is busy breaking the internet with a cameo in Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe, he’s still making bank at the box office. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum rounds out the top five for the weekend, taking in an estimated $11.1 million across 3,604 theaters for fifth place. With a domestic total of $125.8 million, it’s now Reeves’s fourth highest grossing film of all time, behind the three Matrix films.
Overall box office is down 7.6 percent to date, according to Comscore, a big improvement courtesy of a 62 percent jump in ticket sales versus the comparable weekend last year. Check out the May 31-June 2 numbers below.
1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters— $49 million
2. Aladdin— $42.3 million
3. Rocketman— $25 million
4. Ma— $18.3 million
5. John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum— $11.1 million
6. Avengers: Endgame— $7.8 million
7. Pokemon Detective Pikachu — $6.7 million
8. Booksmart— $3.3 million
9. Brightburn— $2.3 million
10. The Hustle— $1.3 million