1st LD-Writethru: "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" wins North American box office in opening weekend

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LOS ANGELES, June 2 (Xinhua) -- American entertainment company Warner Bros. and Chinese-owned Legendary Entertainment's "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" is the new North American box office king, collecting a solid 49.02 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend.

The monster film is a sequel to 2014's film "Godzilla" and the third film in MonsterVerse, a shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of monster films featuring Godzilla and King Kong, produced by Legendary Entertainment and co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Directed by Michael Dougherty, the film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi among others.

The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species-thought to be mere myths-rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.

"Godzilla: King of the Monsters" took in an estimated 179 million dollars worldwide through Sunday, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.

China is the No. 1 in the 75 overseas markets for the film, which opened simultaneously in North America and China on Friday. The monster film took top spot of the Chinese mainland box office through Sunday with about 466 million yuan (about 67.5 million U.S. dollars), China's film news portal Mtime reported.

Chinese film marketing and investment company Huahua Media has joined Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. as a global partner on "Godzilla: King of the Monsters." The Beijing- and Shanghai-based company will help California-based Legendary Entertainment and its Chinese parent company, Dalian Wanda Group, market the film across China, according to American entertainment magazine The Hollywood Reporter.

Disney's live-action fantasy film "Aladdin" moved to the second with an estimated 42.33 million dollars in its second weekend. The film has collected a total of 185 million dollars in North America for a global cume of 445.9 million dollars.

"Aladdin" is a live-action adaptation of Disney's 1992 animated classic of the same name, which was based on one of the best known Middle-Eastern folk tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. The plot follows Aladdin, a charming street rat, who retrieves a magic lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave and must use it to win over the beautiful and self-determined Princess Jasmine.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film stars Will Smith as the Genie, Mena Massoud as Aladdin, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine.

Paramount's biographical musical film "Rocketman" opened in third with an estimated 25 million dollars this weekend. Directed by Dexter Fletcher and stars Taron Egerton as Elton John, the film explores the early life of the English singer. The fantasy musical is titled after John's famous song "Rocket Man."

Another newcomer, Universal and Blumhouse's horror film "Ma" debuted in fourth place with an estimated 18.26 million dollars. Directed by Tate Taylor and stars Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, the film follows some teenagers who befriend a lonely woman who allows them to party in her basement, only to have strange things begin to happen.

Lionsgate's action film "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" finished fifth in its third weekend with an estimated 11.1 million dollars for a North American total of 125.75 million dollars. Directed by Chad Stahelski and starring Keanu Reeves as the titular character, the film is the third installment in the "John Wick" franchise. The plot follows super-assassin John Wick who returns with a 14-million-dollar price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. Enditem

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