To say the new live-action Aladdin is crushing it at the box office would be an overstatement, or at the very least, an exaggeration similar to what Aladdin says about himself: It’s true, but only from a certain point of view. The fact is, in America, Aladdin is doing only slightly better than Solo: A Star Wars Story did at this exact same time last year. Aladdin is projected to take $105 million home for domestic box office receipts, while Solo did $103 million last year, also during Memorial Day weekend. This might be confusing. If Aladdin made about the same money as Solo did last year, why is Aladdin being touted a success and Solo is still considered a failure?
The answer is all about a global appeal. Aladdin has family appeal that exists outside of America, and Solo did not. Because even though Aladdin is doing $105 million stateside; it’s projected to make at least another $100 million overseas, bringing its total somewhere close to $200 million — or maybe more — for the entire Memorial Day weekend.
Aladdin was also cheaper to make than Solo; its budget was around $180 million, while Solo’s reshoots and director switcharoo made that movie cost $275 million, which, is, duh, double the amount of money it made. It’s unclear how much of Aladdin’s budget was spent on getting Will Smith to play the Genie, but it hardly matters. Families all around the world are more interested in seeing a scruffy young guy steal a magic lamp than they are interested in bringing their kids to see a scruffy young guy fly a spaceship they’ve seen fly a million times before.
When it comes to the ways families spend their movie dollars all around the world, for now, flying carpets clearly beat hyperdrive. At least…on Memorial Day.
Aladdin is out in wide release now.