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Box Office: ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Eyes $50 Million Launch

Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s dark fantasy-adventure starring Angelina Jolie, hopes to charm moviegoers when it hits theaters on Oct. 18.

The film, told from the perspective of the evil sorceress in “Sleeping Beauty,” is projected to launch with $50 million, pacing slightly behind the first movie’s opening weekend. The original “Maleficent” debuted with a better-than-expected $69 million and went on to become a box office smash, earning more than $750 million globally from a $180 million budget.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” should benefit as one of the few offerings catering toward female audiences. It arrives in multiplexes on the heels of male-skewed titles like Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Paramount’s “Gemini Man.” Disney also doubled the star-power for the sequel, adding Michelle Pfeiffer to an A-list cast that also includes Elle Fanning.

Joachim Rønning (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”) directed the follow-up. Sam Riley and Lesley Manville reprised their characters, while Ed Skrein, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Harris Dickinson joined the cast.

While “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is expected to receive the majority of box office spoils, the film will open against another sequel, Sony’s “Zombieland: Double Tap.” Early estimates suggest a debut between $23 million and $25 million over the three-day frame. Should projections hold, that would be on par with the $24 million start of its predecessor, 2009’s “Zombieland.” That movie grossed over $100 million worldwide. “Zombieland 2” cost $42 million to make, nearly double what the studio spent on the original ($23 million).

Zombieland: Double Tap” reunites stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and Bill Murray. Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch joined the cast. Ruben Fleischer returned to direct.

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