Weekend Report: 'Maleficent' Casts Box Office Spell, 'Million Ways' Dies
by Ray Subers
June 1, 2014
Maleficent got off to a strong start in the U.S. and abroad this weekend, while Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West flopped.
Disney's big-budget reimagining of Sleeping Beauty earned $69.4 million at the domestic box office, which is the biggest debut ever for star Angelina Jolie. Meanwhile, it grossed roughly $100 million overseas, which is a significant improvement over 2013's Oz The Great and Powerful.
Overall business was about even with the same weekend last year, when Now You See Me and After Earth opened to $29.4 million and $27.5 million, respectively.
Playing at 3,948 locations, Maleficent opened noticeably higher than Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million), which debuted on the same weekend two years ago. Still, it was nowhere near Alice in Wonderland (2010), and also wound up a bit shy of Oz The Great and Powerful ($79.1 million).
Maleficent's success can be attributed in part to the enduring popularity of Disney's animated fare: Sleeping Beauty has tons of fans who were clearly excited to see a new take on the story. Maleficent isn't the last time that Disney is mining its animated library for live-action stories: they have Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella and Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book on the 2015 calendar.
It's also important to note that Maleficent was the first major Summer movie targeted toward women. At the risk of sounding redundant, women make up half of the population and half of moviegoers and will continue to reward movies with interesting lead female characters.
Finally, Maleficent likely got a boost from having Angelina Jolie in the title role. Jolie has been a solid box office draw throughout her career, but hasn't appeared in front of the camera since late 2010. Her return to the big-screen—in an exciting, unique role—was surely cause for excitement among her fanbase.
Maleficent's audience was 60 percent female and 51 percent over the age of 25. Families accounted for 45 percent of attendance. The movie grossed $6.7 million in IMAX, and 3D showtimes represented 35 percent of sales.
Moviegoers awarded Maleficent a strong "A" CinemaScore, which is in contrast to its middling reviews (around 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). If Maleficent plays out like Oz, Alice and Snow White, it should wind up between $190 and $200 million.
In second place, X-Men: Days of Future Past plummeted 64 percent to $32.55 million. That drop is on par with last year's Fast & Furious 6, and is a slight improvement over X-Men: The Last Stand. Still, it's a bit steeper than expected given the movie's strong word-of-mouth and reviews. To date, its earned $162 million, and is now on track for a final total between $220 and $230 million.
Three movies released in May 2013 ultimately passed $225 million at the domestic box office. With Godzilla and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in line for around $200 million and X-Men falling fast, it's possible that none of May 2014's titles reach that mark.
In third place, Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West opened to $16.8 million. That's less than one-third of Ted's $54 million debut in June 2012. The movie even managed to open lower than past Summer comedy flops like Year One ($19.6 million), Land of the Lost ($18.8 million), The Dictator ($17.4 million) and The Internship ($17.3 million).
Months ago, it seemed like A Million Ways to Die in the West could be a solid hit: the redband trailer had plenty of solid jokes that aligned nicely with the movie's memorable title. In the final run-up to release, though, advertisements became more focused on the Ted brand, and failed to really deliver the kind of laughs that are needed to open an R-rated comedy. MacFarlane's decision to step in front of the camera almost certainly turned off some prospective moviegoers as well.
The movie's audience skewed male (55 percent) and older (72 percent were over 25 years of age). It received a middling "B" CinemaScore; combine that with poor reviews, and it would be surprising if this made it past $50 million.
Godzilla fell a steep 61 percent to $12 million. To date, the monster movie has earned $174.4 million, and could have a tough time reaching $200 million total.
Adam Sandler comedy Blended eased 43 percent to $8.14 million for a 10-day total of $29.4 million. Meanwhile, Neighbors dropped 42 percent to $8.1 million. To date, the Seth Rogen/Zac Efron comedy has grossed $129 million.
Opening in 47 markets, Maleficent earned an impressive $100.6 million this weekend. According to Disney, that's 40 percent ahead of Oz The Great and Powerful across the same group of territories.
The movie's biggest market was Mexico, where it opened to a 2014-best $13.4 million. It was also strong in Russia ($11.5 million) the U.K. ($11 million), Italy ($6.4 million), Brazil ($5.4 million) and the Philippines ($4 million). Other major territories include Germany ($5.2 million), France ($4.9 million), Spain ($3.9 million), Australia ($3.9 million) and South Korea ($3.8 million). With China and Japan still on the way, Maleficent is guaranteed to earn over $300 million total.
X-Men: Days of Future Past added $95.6 million this weekend, which brings its total to a franchise-best $338.1 million. In China, it earned grossed $21.8 million for a new total of $79.1 million. The movie also opened in second place in Japan with $3.4 million. With Spain on the way next weekend, Days of Future Past should cross $400 million in the next week.
With the domestic total included, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the first X-Men movie to earn over $500 million worldwide.
A week ahead of its domestic debut, Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow opened to $20 million from 28 overseas markets. It had so-so openings in the U.K. ($3.1 million), Germany ($2.1 million), Spain ($1.5 million) and Italy ($1.5 million). Next weekend is the big test, though, as the movie expands in to China, Russia, Mexico, France and Australia. Warner Bros. reported strong earnings throughout smaller Asian markets this weekend, which suggests Edge will be big in China.
Godzilla added $15 million this weekend, which brings its total to just shy of $200 million. The movie opens in China in two weeks and Japan in late July.
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This Weekend's Forecast:
• Forecast: 'X-Men' Targets $100 Million Memorial Day Debut
This Weekend in Past Years:
• 2013 - 'Fast' Falls, Magicians Makes Will Smith Disappear
• 2012 - 'Snow White' Takes Big Bite Out of Box Office Apple
• 2011 - 'First Class' Ranks Last Among 'X-Men'
• 2010 - 'Shrek' Reigns Over Meager Parade Again
• 2009 - 'Up' Lifts Pixar to Tenth Smash
• 2007 - 'Pirates' Sinks, 'Knocked Up' Scores
• 2006 - Exes Exceed 'X-Men'
• 2005 - 'Cinderella Man' Pulls a Punch, 'Madagascar' Claims Weekend Title
• Weekend Box Office Results
• All-Time Domestic