Maleficent: Mistress of Evil marks the lowest opening weekend of the year for Disney and will now rely on the international box office to recoup its $185 million budget
Five years after Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the Sleeping Beauty sorceress, debuted to $36 million from 2,790 North American theaters, nearly half of what the first movie made in its inaugural weekend ($69 million).
Despite opening below projections heading into the weekend, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil easily towered over competition including holdover from Warner Bros. Joker and newcomer Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap. The Maleficent follow-up did benefit as one of the few offerings catering to younger female moviegoers in a marketplace that’s been largely dominated by male-skewed titles like Joker and Paramount’s Gemini Man. Women represented 56% of ticket buyers, about 50% of which were under the age of 25.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil marks the lowest opening weekend of the year for Disney and will now rely on the international box office to recoup its $185 million budget. The film had much more promising showing overseas, lifting off with $117 million for a global start of $150 million. The original pulled in an impressive $517 million from foreign markets and another $241 million from the domestic market.
Elle Fanning also returned for the sequel, joining newcomers to the series Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Skrein and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was directed by Joachim Ronning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales).
Fellow new release Zombieland: Double Tap launched at No. 3 with a better-than-expected $26.7 million and should continue to build momentum in coming weeks as Halloween nears. The original Zombieland premiered to $24 million in 2009 and ended its box office run with a solid $102 million globally. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the zombie comedy 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. Zombieland 2 cost $42 million to make, roughly double what the studio spent on the original ($23 million).
After its two-week reign atop domestic box office charts, Joker slid to second place and added $29 million in its third weekend of release. That puts the dark supervillain origin story — starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips — close to the $250 million mark in North America, with ticket sales hitting $247 million. Overseas, Joker has scared up a mighty $490 million for a worldwide bounty of $737.5 million.