In a rather packed weekend for new releases the biggest of them all failed to hit expectations while two, more minor releases decided to rise above them. When speaking of the biggest of them all I'm of course referring to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the massive follow-up to 2014's Godzilla and 2017's Kong: Skull Island. Warner Brothers' monster mash came in at the lower end of studio expectations finishing just short of $48 million while Rocketman and Ma topped expectations. Ma, specifically, launched with over $18 million domestically on a $5 million budget. Overall, the weekend saw the top twelve deliver nearly $170 million pushing the summer box office past $1.137 billion making the yearly box office just -8.5% behind last year as we enter the halfway point. With $47.7 million King of the Monsters fell short of the studio's $50-55 million expectations as it declined day-to-day after a $19.6 million Friday. This isn't great news as it is a far cry from the $93.2 million opening of the 2014 reboot and even fell well short of the $61 million opening for Skull Island in 2017. Worse, Skull Island had a much smaller Thursday night preview grosses ($3.7 million as compared to King of the Monsters $6.3 million) and still managed a larger opening day ($20.1 million) while holding better throughout the weekend. This doesn't bode well for WB's continued Monster-verse as King of the Monsters will face some steep competition in a new X-Men film and Secret Life of Pets sequel this weekend, a new Men in Black movie next weekend, and Toy Story 4 the week after that. It's a good thing director Adam Wingard's (The Guest, You're Next) Godzilla vs. Kong is already in post-production and slated for release next March or we might not have seen this quadrilogy conclude as originally intended. On the other end of things, while Aladdin held strong in second place with a $42.8 million second weekend and a domestic gross that now totals over $190 million, the R-rated Elton John biopic starring Taron Egerton finished in third with $25.7 million well ahead of the $18-20 million studio estimates. More promising than this strong start though, is the fact the film received strong reviews from critics as well as an "A-" CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences. Given the film will have little to no competition in the "movies for grown folks" category save for the wide release of Late Night next weekend, it seems Rocketman has no choice but to remain steady. Internationally, Rocketman grossed $19.2 million in its second weekend for an international cume of $31.2 million and a worldwide total of over $63 million. As always, be sure to follow the official Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

Read my full Godzilla: King of the Monsters review here.

Read my Rocketman review here.

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