When you're a street rat in Agrabah and you find a magic lamp you wish for riches and love. When you're a major movie studio, you wish for your films to make $1 billion. It looks like Disney just made their third wish, as following Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, the Mouse House now has its third billion dollar box office winner of the year in the live-action adaptation of Aladdin.
With yesterday's box office locked in the safe, THR reports that the remake finally hit the milestone it's been flirting with for a week. What makes the big win for Aladdin so interesting is that really nobody saw it coming. Early tracking was putting Aladdin's domestic box office take at around $235 million, a number it has exceeded by over $100 million. Even on the eve of opening weekend the movie was looking to do something around $75 million domestic for the Memorial Day Weekend, but instead it did more than $90 million.
Everywhere we look Aladdin has been exceeding expectations. It would be one thing if people had been drawn to the theater by glowing reviews, but the movie, overall, saw lukewarm to negative reviews.
Although, it's possible that it could be overtaken at the box office very soon. The Lion King saw a domestic opening weekend more than double what Aladdin did, so it's got a pretty sizable jump on getting to $1 billion itself very quickly. The film has already amassed over $700 million globally and is entering only its second weekend in North America.
The Lion King was supposed to be the big remake movie of the year. Aladdin, one assumes, was certainly expected to do well. If the movie had only done as projected, it would have still been a big money maker, but even for Disney, a studio used to making blockbuster after blockbuster, this one was something of a pleasant surprise.
And then of course, there's Toy Story 4, a movie which might also break the billion dollar barrier before its run is over. The film came out about three weeks after Aladdin and has already grossed $868 million worldwide.
At this point, poor Dumbo must feel awful. Nobody expected the flying elephant to set box office records, but at this point it's the only film Disney has released this year, other than the Disneynature documentary Penguins, that didn't do anywhere close to $1 billion.
With both Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the horizon, each of which could also do $1 billion, it looks like 2019 is shaping up to be exactly the year that most predicted it would be for Disney at the box office, perhaps even more.
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