Maleficent

Maleficent” will need all its magic to fend off “X-Men: Days of Future Past” at the box office this weekend.

The Walt Disney Studios epic debuts on nearly 4,000 screens domestically and boasts the star power of Angelina Jolie as the evil sorceress of “Sleeping Beauty” notoriety. It is currently the top-selling film on Fandango, cornering more than 80% of weekend pre-sales.

The online ticketer reports that the picture is outpacing the similarly themed “Snow White & the Huntsman.” That picture enjoyed a $56.2 million opening in 2012. “Maleficent” is expected to put up similar numbers, topping $60 million over the weekend.

If “Maleficent” wants to hit that target, it will need to lure audiences away from the latest X-Men adventure. The mutant sequel has been buoyed by strong word-of-mouth and positive reviews, debuting to $90.8 million last weekend.

“X-Men:Days of Future Past” appears to be going strong into its second week of release. MovieTickets.com reports that the film currently accounts for 22% of all tickets sold in the last 24 hours. That’s just behind “Maleficent,” which maintains a slim lead with 32% of tickets sold in the last day.

At Fandango, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is the second strongest-seller, while the weekend’s other major new release, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” is the third most popular title.

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