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Aladdin takes flight with US$105m box office haul

Los Angeles

DISNEY'S live-action Aladdin is flying high with an estimated US$105 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

It's the sixth-highest Memorial Day weekend total ever, topping the 2011 mark of US$103.4 million for The Hangover Part II. The top total came in 2007 when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End took in US$139 million in its first four days.

Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie, is also dominating moviegoing internationally with US$121 million in 56 markets. Aladdin has outperformed Disney's pre-opening domestic projections, which were in the US$75 million to US$85 million range, taking in US$86.1 million in its first three days.

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The reboot of the original 1992 animated movie - which generated US$502 million in worldwide box office - stars Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Will Smith as the Genie, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar.

Comscore's PostTrak general audience survey found that 67 per cent of patrons said they would "definitely recommend" the film to their friends. Notably, 39 per cent said their affection for the original was their primary reason for seeing the film, a high percentage that reflects moviegoers' love for the Aladdin brand and the characters in the film.

"A very strong 22 per cent said they would see the film again in theatres - much higher than the norm of 14 per cent," noted Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's senior media analyst.

Comscore estimated that total domestic business for the four-day weekend was US$226 million. That was about US$1.8 million shy of the total for the same frame last year, when Solo: A Star Wars Story launched with US$103 million.

The top Memorial Day weekend took place in 2013 when Fast and Furious 6 launched and North American moviegoing totalled US$314 million for the four days.

Perfect family-friendly treat

"A very solid Memorial Day weekend was led by the bigger-than-expected performance of Aladdin conjured up huge numbers of moviegoers looking for the perfect family-friendly treat over the extended holiday weekend," he said. Sony's launch of horror-thriller Brightburn should pull in about US$9 million for the holiday weekend to finish fifth and United Artists-Annapurna's teen comedy Booksmart will open in sixth at around US$8 million. Both were positioned as counter-programmers to Aladdin and finished slightly below forecasts.

Lionsgate's second session of John Wick: Chapter 3 was runner-up with US$30.5 million following its surprisingly strong opening of US$56.8 million. The actioner will wind up the holiday weekend with US$107 million domestically.

Disney's fifth frame of Avengers: Endgame finished third in the US$22 million range, increasing its haul to about US$803 million domestically by the end of Memorial Day. Endgame trails only Star Wars: The Force Awakens in domestic gross, with the space saga having grossed US$936 million.

Warner Bros' third weekend of Pokemon Detective Pikachu followed in fourth with about US$17 million. The family adventure ended the weekend at the US$120 million mark in North America.

Overall moviegoing for 2019 has hit US$4.34 billion as of Sunday, down 10 per cent from the same point last year. The lag is due to a dismal performance during the first two months of this year.

Aladdin is the third biggest launch of 2019, following the record-setting US$357 million for Avengers: Endgame and US$153 million for Captain Marvel. REUTERS