‘Maleficent’ spooks box office
$70 million debut for twisted fairy tale
The biggest box office debut of Angelina Jolie’s career propelled Disney’s twisted fairy tale Maleficent to a scary-good $70 million opening.
The PG-rated fantasy beat forecasts to easily top all films over the weekend, according to studio estimates yesterday. Though Maleficent was early on considered a risky endeavor for Disney that might turn away family audiences by retelling Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s perspective, the film emerged as a hit largely because of the draw of Jolie.
Star power has been increasingly elusive in modern Hollywood, where name-brand concepts often rule the box office. But Jolie, in her first live-action starring role in years, drove interest for Maleficent despite lackluster reviews from critics.
“It’s a unique thing,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. “Her star power transcends borders and genre.”
Seth MacFarlane’s Western comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West was out-gunned by Maleficent. The R-rated Universal release opened in third place with a tepid $17.1 million despite a starry cast of Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried. By contrast, MacFarlane’s Ted (for which he’s making a sequel) opened with $54.4 million in 2012.
Last weekend’s top film, Fox’s big-budget mutant sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, dropped to second with $32.6 million. It’s a somewhat steep decline for Days of Future Past, but the film made $95.6 million internationally in its second week, good enough to push its global cumulative total past $500 million already.