While Avengers: Endgame continued to dominate, how did new releases fare during the month of May?
Welcome to Winners and Losers: a feature where we look back at the past month to determine which movies proved their worth at the box office and which ended up being dead weight.
1. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum // Lionsgate
Hit of the Month
The Keanu Reeves-fronted action franchise continues to be the little engine that could, with this third installment delivering the strongest box office results of the series to date. In-keeping with his formidable reputation, it was Wick who was able to dethrone the Avengers from the number one spot, albeit on their fourth week of release. Parabellum had an opening weekend of $56 million, almost double that of the second movie, and currently stands at a global total of $280 million.
While it wasn’t the highest grossing film of the month, Wick earns his spot at the top of this list by being such a significant and crucial win for everyone involved. Distributor Lionsgate has struggled to successfully launch a new franchise since their Hunger Games and Twilight films wrapped production, meaning Wick is by far the biggest gun in their current arsenal. This film has also definitively reestablished Reeves as a bankable star, following a career downturn in the years 2008 up to 2014, where the actor spoke candidly about his lack of offers from the major studios.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is already in production.
2. Aladdin // Disney
Despite some backlash to the initial trailers and generally lukewarm reviews, Disney’s live-action Aladdin has overcome the odds to become a runaway success. The film opened with $91 million in North America and has enjoyed strong holds in the weeks that followed. With a price tag of $183 million not including advertising costs, this was a pricey picture for Disney. But, with a worldwide total that currently stands at over $900 million, Aladdin has proven itself worth the investment.
3. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu // Warner Bros.
While his two outings as Deadpool have been highly profitable, Ryan Reynolds has had trouble coming anywhere near close to that level of success in other starring vehicles. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is certainly his best attempt but still can’t quite be considered an unquestionable home run. Opening with $54 million, well below some expectations, the film reached a fairly soft domestic total of $142 million across the duration of its run. It fared better overseas which helped to propel it over $400 million worldwide, but its haul remains somewhat underwhelming in comparison to other similarly budgeted flicks. Nevertheless, a sequel looks likely and could be the necessary boost to get this franchise into the big leagues.
4. Long Shot // Lionsgate Summit
This romantic comedy starring Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron received a positive reception from critics but that failed to translate into ticket sales. The film opened with a mere $9 million stateside and things weren’t any better in overseas markets. Ultimately, it struggled to a worldwide gross of $46 million meaning it’s unlikely to have recouped its reported budget. Both Rogen and Theron have wildly inconsistent box office track records, so this won’t do either of them any favours.
5. UglyDolls // STX Entertainment
Flop of the Month
The sheer number of stars assembled for this animated misstep is genuinely impressive. Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, Emma Roberts, Jane Lynch, Pitbull, Charli XCX and Lizzo all provided voices for the picture, which was intended to be a big new franchise for fledgling production division STX Family. With its colourful characters and musical elements, comparisons to Dreamworks’ Trolls movie were inevitable. But, in terms of box office at least, the films are very different beasts: Ugly Dolls made just over half of its production budget, continuing what has been a dreadful year for STX so far.