As expected, the arrival of Alien: Covenant has seemingly bumped Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from the top spot at the box office in the Marvel film’s third frame. At least that’s what the Friday numbers are signaling at this point. Alien: Covenant took in some $15.5 million on Friday above Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘s $8.8 million on Friday, after Covenant cobbled together $4.2 million from Thursday previews. Compared to the Marvel hit, however, Covenant has been taking it a bit more in the teeth from critics, some of which seemingly have no problem nitpicking the pragmatism and realism of a movie about violent aliens, androids, and spaceships the size of Des Moines, Iowa. This tendency also allows certain critics to ignore the scintillating narrative ambitions and audacious perversity of Ridley Scott‘s sequel to Prometheus, arguably his most mundane and overtly safe blockbuster to date.
In reality, Guardians and Covenant are incredibly similar movies with a severe difference in tone: Covenant is for adults, whereas Guardians is clearly for kids and teenagers. Both films show a tremendous amount of ambition in the script that isn’t quite matched by the still-enchanting imagery of both movies. Both are carried by excellent casts that are limited by stories that must be compromised to ensure they fit into a larger scheme as sequels within a franchise. Covenant is less so and feels more like a fully rounded movie by the end of the movie, but its weaknesses are directly tied to its tip of the hat to Prometheus and to Scott’s next Alien joint. Guardians has a greater sense of invention and a better use of color but its dramatic core is at once overtly sentimental and annoyingly tepid.
So, the changing of the guard does not suggest any major shift and that goes double for the rest of the top five on Friday. The new teen romance Everything, Everything arrived in the third spot with $4.2 million, leaving last week’s Mother’s Day not-hit Snatched in the fourth spot with $2.2 million. And with The Boss Baby seemingly finally taken down after a surprisingly resilient run, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul took the fifth spot for the kid-centric entertainment with $2 million. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.