When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2019, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
While Disney has long played the Memorial Day holiday, they’ve historically had a string of disasters including Solo: A Star Wars Story, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pirates 5, Tomorrowland and Prince of Persia. Finally after some time, they hit pay dirt with their live-action redo of animated hit musical Aladdin which turned out a global opening of $234.7M, and the 5th biggest opening for the 4-day summer holiday of $116.8M stateside. That repped the second-biggest opening of Will Smith’s career after Suicide Squad ($133.6M domestic); the actor experiencing a funk at the B.O. with serious movies like Concussion, Collateral Beauty and Focus. Aladdin also repped a big comeback for director Guy Ritchie, repping his best opening ever at the B.O., in the wake of his bomb from three years ago, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which lost over $153M. A strong play in Latin America, as well as China, where word of mouth grew among audiences, was key to delivering Smith’s biggest film of his career here at $1.05 billion, besting Independence Day’s $817M WW gross from 1996. Rival studios sniped about the pic’s marketing materials at CinemaCon last spring, thinking Smith’s blue genie was too scary, and that Aladdin was poised to upset die-hard Disney fans. That was hardly the case as families and females came out en masse and gave Aladdin a big A+. Aladdin also repped another big win for diversity at the box office, with a multi-cultural cast on the marquee.
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Aladdin cost more than Disney’s 2017 feature live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, $185M to $160M before P&A, even though the genie’s overall global costs were slightly lower at $455M to Beauty‘s near half billion. Overall difference? Beast made more with $912.5M in all global theatrical, TV and home entertainment revenues to Aladdin‘s $811M. Participations of $25M were mostly collected by Ritchie and Smith. Interest here at $30M is the amount figured on production costs; essentially when a studio looks at their own profitability, they include an allocation for their borrowing costs. Net profit for Aladdin was $356M to Beauty and the Beast‘s $414.7M. Disney has a sequel in the works with John Gatins (Flight, Real Steel) and Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton, The Kitchen) writing. No word if Smith and Ritchie will return yet.