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Godzilla sequel debuts with a tame US$49m at box office

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Fading franchise? King of the Monsters didn't quite have the roar of its predecessors, Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. A number of critics gave it mediocre reviews.

Los Angeles

WARNER Bros and Legendary's Godzilla: King of the Monsters may have been crowned king of the North American box office this past weekend, but in reality it only managed a meek roar.

The monster sequel brought in US$49 million when it debuted in 4,108 locations, a disappointing start given its hefty US$200 million price tag.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third instalment in Legendary's MonsterVerse, launched well behind its predecessors, 2014's Godzilla (US$93 million) and 2017's Kong: Skull Island (US$61 million).

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Like those films, the latest tentpole is expecting to make majority of its ticket sales overseas, where the eponymous other-worldly creature is a huge hit. King of the Monsters bowed with US$130 million at the international box office for a global opening weekend of US$179 million.

Older males accounted for majority of moviegoers, with 59 per cent over the age of 25 and 67 per cent male.

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.

Another newcomer this weekend, Paramount's Rocketman, took off in third place with US$25 million in ticket sales, which, coincidentally, is roughly the same number of sunglasses Taron Egerton wore to play Elton John in the fantasy biopic directed by Dexter Fletcher.

Though the jukebox musical will inescapably be compared to last year's Bohemian Rhapsody, Fox's Oscar-winning Queen biopic that generated over US$900 million globally, Rocketman doesn't need to reach those box office heights to become a success.

Paramount shelled out US$40 million to produce the R-rated Rocketman, which doesn't shy away from sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

In fourth place, Universal and Blumhouse's Ma, a psychological thriller starring Octavia Spencer, picked up US$18.2 million when it opened on 2,808 screens. That represents a promising start given the film's US$5 million production budget.

Ma, Spencer's first solo leading role, follows a lonely middle aged woman who befriends some teenagers after they ask her to buy alcohol for them.

After Ma lets the high schoolers party in her basement, the festivities start to take an creepy turn. Tate Taylor, best known for The Help and Girl on the Train, directed Ma.

Disney's Aladdin dropped to the No 2 spot, adding another US$42.3 million during its second weekend in theatres. Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin has now earned $185 million in North America and US$260.9 million overseas.

Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which collected US$11.1 million for a domestic haul of US$125 million. REUTERS