“Maleficent” cast a spell at the Friday box office to nab $24.2 million Stateside.
Disney’s Angelina Jolie-starrer looks to make magic this weekend to open to a stellar $68 million. If the estimate pans out, “Maleficent” will mark the highest-grossing live-action debut for Jolie — miles ahead of “Wanted,” which bowed to $50.9 million in 2008.
Jolie is proving that her star power hasn’t waned after four years away from the camera and two back-to-back misfires, 2010’s “Salt” and “The Tourist.”
“Maleficent,” a live-action retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” comes on the heels of several other Disney reimaginings: last year’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” bowed to $79.1 million and 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” premiered to $116 million. The fantasy adventure won’t match those debuts as the pics launched in the less crowded month of March.
Robert Stromberg, the production designer for “Oz” and “Alice,” made his directorial debut with “Maleficent.”
The pic is already doing strong business overseas. “Maleficent” opened to $2.5 million in the U.K. and Ireland on Wednesday, outperforming “Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s” first day and more than doubling “Oz” and “Snow White and The Huntsman’s” debuts.
“Maleficent” reeled in $20.1 million from 35 markets, including Russia, Germany, Australia and Brazil, during its first two days and will slowly expand to 13,011 theaters across 46 countries. The $180 million blockbuster, which co-stars Elle Fanning, will need to haul about $500 million worldwide to make a sizable impact.
Despite mixed reviews (49% on Rotten Tomatoes), it promises steady hold as one of the few family films in theaters this summer. It’ll have “How to Train Your Dragon 2” breathing down its neck come June 13.
Meanwhile, “A Million Ways to Die in the West” landed in third place on Friday behind “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” MacFarlane’s Western comedy looks to lasso in a lower-than-expected $16 million this weekend.
Universal’s other raunchy comedy, “Neighbors,” grossed over three times more ($49 million) in its opening weekend earlier this month. The Seth Rogen-Zac Efron frat film earned $3 million on Friday and stands to make $7.2 million by Sunday, which would raise its cume to $128 million.
Universal, which co-financed the $40 million film with Media Rights Capital, also distributed MacFarlane’s last movie, “Ted.” The R-rated comedy landed Stateside with an astounding $54.4 million in 2012 and went on to make $218.8 million ($549.4 million worldwide).
Meanwhile, Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is still doing solid business after dominating the box office with $110.7 million during Memorial Day weekend. The mutant superpower grossed $9.4 million on Friday and is headed toward $31 million this weekend. That would spike its cume to north of $160 million.
This would also mark a 66% decline, which is at the higher end for films in the “X-Men” franchise, which have dropped between 53% and 70% in their second weekends.
“Godzilla” finished fourth with $3.3 million on Friday, en route to $11 million. If the estimate holds, it will have devoured $173 million in its first two weeks.
Warner Bros.’ other summer blockbuster, “Blended,” rounded out the top five. The rom-com brought in $2.4 million on Friday and will likely earn about $7.7 million this weekend.