For a radioactive lizard who’s now technically eligible for retirement, Godzilla still knows how to get his stomp on. It’s been 65 years since Gojira (as he’s known in Japan) first tore through Tokyo. Thirty-five films later, moviegoers still pony up to see him square off against his always-angry kaiju nemeses.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters reigned at the box office this weekend, gobbling up an estimated $49 million domestically (and another $130 million overseas). And while that’s enough green to get this geriatric dinosaur some much-needed chiropractic help after going head to head against his hydra-like foe Ghidorah (three toothy heads, zero arms—no wonder he’s so mad), Godzilla didn’t demolish the competition quite as convincingly as expected.
Chalk that up to the strong hold of another outsized protagonist, Will Smith’s blue-tinged (and sometimes similarly gigantic) genie in Aladdin. Disney’s live-action remake of this 1992 classic conjured up another $42.3 million in its second frame. The film has shaken off not-so-great reviews (it stands at a tepid 56% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) to overperform at the multiplexes.
Blasting off to No. 3 was the Elton John biopic Rocketman. Despite its R-rating for an explicitly unfiltered look at the British pop icon’s life, the film took in an estimated $25 million. It earned rave reviews from mainstream critics, in contrast to a much more cautionary one from Plugged In.
The No. 4 slot belonged to another newcomer, Ma. This R-rated horror-thriller stars Octavia Spencer as a “kindly” older woman who lets high schoolers drink in her basement … before doing some really bad things to them.
Rounding out the top five is yet another flick with that restrictive rating, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Plugged In reviewer Paul Asay said of the hyperviolent Keanu Reeves series, “The John Wick movies aren’t so much stories as they are ballets of blood. And in this chapter—obviously the third installment in the John Wick franchise—the fanbase gets exactly what it wants.”
That’ll close out our box-office report for this week. Tune in next week to see how the latest X-Men movie (Dark Phoenix) does against an animated animals sequel (The Secret Life of Pets 2).