Box Office: Angelina Jolie’s ‘Maleficent’ Targets $60 Million-Plus Opening

The Angelina Jolie starrer “Maleficent” looks to be beneficent for Disney at the box office.

The live-action “Sleeping Beauty” reboot is on track to open to north of $60 million on May 30, according to early estimates. The $175 million-plus production needs to do strong business overseas to see a profit.

“Maleficent” comes on the heels of “Frozen’s” mega-success and thereby revived interest in Disney princess movies. It also follows several other Disney reimaginings: 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” and last year’s “Oz The Great and Powerful.” Both of those movies were box office hits, although “Oz” underperformed overseas. “Maleficent” would need to match “Oz’s” $493 million worldwide cume to make an impact.

Meanwhile, “Alice in Wonderland” bowed to a record-breaking $116 million and went on to haul over $1 billion worldwide. But that vfx-heavy Disney fantasy pic was bolstered by the brand value of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.

Although Jolie has star power, it hasn’t translated to box office gold for quite some time. She’ll be back in front of the camera after taking time off from acting to focus on directing. The last two films in which she starred, 2010’s “Salt” and “The Tourist” (co-starring Depp post-“Alice in Wonderland”), both disappointed financially.

Jolie’s startling transformation into the titular evil fairy who places the sleeping curse on princess Aurora (whose younger version is played by Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter Vivienne) has generated much buzz throughout the promotional campaign.

The bigscreen fairytale adaptation co-stars Elle Fanning (the older Aurora), Sharlto Copley and Juno Temple.

“Maleficent” director Robert Stromberg was partly responsible for “Alice” and “Oz’s” success as their production designer, but he’s new to the directing world. Stromberg will make his directorial debut after stepping in to replace Burton, who left the helm because of scheduling conflicts.

Unlike “Alice” and “Oz,” which launched in the less crowded month of March, “Maleficent” faces off against several summer blockbusters. It’s opening on the same day as Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” MacFarlane’s R-rated pic would seem to appeal to a very different audience than the PG movie but could reach a wider-than-anticipated audience following the success of “Ted.”

Disney also faces heavy competition from Fox as “Maleficent” is bowing a week after “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and a week before Shailene Woodley’s “The Fault in Our Stars.” “Godzilla,” which had the year’s second largest opening, will likely still be making a killing then.

“Maleficent” seems to be more on par with Universal’s summer blockbuster “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which opened to $56 million on the same weekend in 2012 and earned $397 worldwide. Like “Maleficent,” the $170 million production told a classic fairy tale through from the female villain’s point of view.

The film has a day-and-date release in most major territories, but won’t bow in India, Japan or Mexico until early July. It will be released in the U.K. and Italy on May 28 — two days ahead of its U.S. launch.

More Film

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Second Huayi Brothers Film Is Canceled as Company's Losses Mount

    Still reeling from the cancellation of the theatrical release of its blockbuster “The Eight Hundred,” production studio Huayi Brothers has been hit with another setback: Its comedy “The Last Wish” has also been quietly pulled from China’s summer lineup. Both films have fallen afoul of China’s increasingly heavy-handed censors. The unwelcome development comes as Huayi [...]

  • Sean AstinCritics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Film News Roundup: Sean Astin Cast in 'Mayfields Game,' 'Charming the Hearts of Men'

    In today’s film news roundup, Sean Astin gets two roles, two “Peanuts” movies are set for release, “One Last Night” gets distribution and Brian De Palma gets honored. CASTINGS Sean Astin has been cast in a pair of upcoming feature films: “Mayfield’s Game” opposite Mira Sorvino and “Charming The Hearts of Men” opposite Kelsey Grammer. Astin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content