Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’s opening weekend box office was nearly half of what the first film brought in during its debut in 2014. Over the past handful of years, Disney has had great success producing live-action re-imaginings of some of their animated classics, and the original Maleficent remains one of the bigger hits in this sub-franchise. Putting a fresh spin on the classic Sleeping Beauty mythos, the film brought in $758.5 million worldwide during its run. That kind of haul made a sequel inevitable, but it took a long time for one to come into fruition.
The followup, Mistress of Evil, hit theaters this past weekend, premiering in the wake of Joker’s record-setting debut. It’s the fourth of Disney’s live-action re-imaginings to open in 2019, following Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King earlier in the year. Those latter two went on to become monumental hits for the studio, crossing the $1 billion plateau over the summer. On the other hand, Dumbo proved to be a misfire, earning just $353.3 million globally. Unfortunately for Disney, Maleficent 2 falls more into the Dumbo category.
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According to Box Office Mojo, Mistress of Evil grossed approximately $36 million domestically in its first three days, which is a substantial decrease from the original’s $69.4 million opening. That figure is even below Dumbo’s debut of $45.9 million, suggesting Maleficent 2 is going to really struggle commercially.
A likely reason for this turn of events is Mistress of Evil’s critical reception, which was lukewarm at best. Reviews were complimentary of the film’s beautiful visuals, but many were left feeling underwhelmed by the story. As a result, Mistress of Evil was far from a definite must-see in theaters. When compared to the likes of Aladdin and The Lion King, Maleficent doesn’t have enough built-in nostalgia appeal to overcome weak word-of-mouth (despite the star power of Angelina Jolie). Casual moviegoers had little incentive to check it out. As a PG-rated family film, Maleficent 2 was able to tap into that specific demographic, but competition from Joker ($29.2 million) and Zombieland: Double Tap ($26.7 million) prevented it from breaking out like other Disney titles this year.
The odds of Maleficent 2 having strong box office legs and rebounding from the soft opening are low. Turnout during the opening weekend suggests there isn’t much interest, and even though there isn’t much in the way of competition opening this weekend, business will be taking a hit. By the time Terminator: Dark Fate (which is already receiving positive reviews) debuts in a couple of weeks, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will have faded. In what’s been a banner box office year for the Mouse House (even by their lofty standards), this was a rare misfire.
Source: Box Office Mojo
Key Release Dates
- Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) release date: Oct 18, 2019
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