BOX OFFICE: “Godzilla” devours $49, “Rocketman” half-soars to $25, “Ma” manages $18


Not a runaway weekend at the box office, like say LAST weekend was, with “Aladdin” far exceeding depressed expectations and clearing over $100 million.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” didn’t hit the predicted $65, $55 or $53 million it was expected to pull in last week — indeed, as late as Saturday morning.

A tepid film in a worn out franchise? It’s not as if nobody cared, but not enough cared to make it a runaway hit. $49 million isn’t terrible, and with overseas money the $200 million monster mash won’t be a flop. But still…Let’s hope they retire the character and find better Hollywood parts for Ken Watanabe.

“Rocketman” appealed to an older audience of Elton John fans, and while there weren’t nearly as many of them as say, “Gnomeo & Juliet” et al fans (cartoons that used Elton’s tunes), a $25 million weekend is better than things looked Friday. This was expected to challenge “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” break-out opening in the $40s — and didn’t. Predictions ran into the $30s as late as Thursday. Didn’t happen.

It’s a sour, joyless film, built around everybody who ever did Elton wrong. “Makes him look like a jerk” one critic noted. I’d agree with that.

“Ma” wasn’t all that, but Octavia Spencer and BH Tilt opened a horror movie with no supernatural evil, ghosts or “Amityville/Insidious/Annabelle” universe tie-ins. $18 million on a cheap film is a win.

“Booksmart” fell off so steeply that any thoughts it would find a bigger audience, hold onto screens and become a hit “with legs” disappeared. It fell only 52%, but that’s a falloff that took it way down the top ten. It will join “Long Shot” in the over-hyped but under-viewed comedy of the summer sweepstakes, out of the top ten and losing most of its screens within two weeks.

The PG-13 “The Hustle,” a cute remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Bedtime Story” (1964) has earned more than the two R-rated comedies put together. R-rated has been the way to go in the Judd Apatow Ap-pack era, but not this summer. Not so far.

“Booksmart” is better, more ambitious than “The Hustle.” “Long Shot” isn’t.

If the adorable documentary “Biggest Little Farm” was on a few more (275 now) screens, it might crack the top ten. But that’s the sort of thinking that made “Booksmart” seem like a bomb. It was never going to have wide Middle-America appeal, nor is “Farm.”


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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