NEW YORK • This time last year, Disney was picking up the pieces after a notoriously disappointing opening for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
The studio has better luck this year - with a genie's help.
Disney's live-action Aladdin, with Will Smith as the blue genie, brought in around US$86.1 million (S$118 million) domestically from Friday to Sunday.
Disney expects the North American total for the long Memorial Day weekend, from Friday to yesterday, to reach US$105 million, exceeding analysts' expectations.
Aladdin is the latest in Disney's series of live-action remakes of its animated classics. The previous entry, Tim Burton's Dumbo, earned US$45 million in North America in its opening weekend in March.
Other than Smith, the new Aladdin does not come with much star power. Mena Massoud, a Canadian actor whose most prominent role had been as a recurring character in Amazon series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, plays Aladdin opposite British actress Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine.
Disney can now say that it is behind the top three highest-grossing openings so far this year.
Only the Disney-Marvel movies Captain Marvel (opening weekend: US$153.4 million) and Avengers: Endgame (US$357.1 million) had better openings than Aladdin.
Avengers: Endgame is still making money.
The superhero movie came in third over the weekend with around US$16.8 million in domestic ticket sales from Friday to Sunday.
Second place went to John Wick: Chapter 3, which sold US$24.4 million in tickets over the three-day period.