Disney's 'Maleficent' Sequel Sputters

Date : 10/20/2019 @ 8:01PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Walt Disney Co (DIS)
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Disney's 'Maleficent' Sequel Sputters

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)
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By R.T. Watson 

Walt Disney Co.'s poorest showing all year was good enough to score the top spot at the box office this weekend.

"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" made only a little more than half the opening total of its predecessor, also starring Angelina Jolie as the antagonist from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, released in the summer of 2014.

"Mistress of Evil" grossed $36 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to preliminary studio estimates. The first "Maleficent" made $69.4 million during its opening weekend.

Both "Maleficent" films are told from the perspective of the title character. In the PG-rated sequel, Ms. Jolie's dour, sharp-witted Maleficent joins forces with a band of misfits in an effort to stop an evil queen, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who has designs on ridding the land of fairies.

Disney's head of distribution, Cathleen Taff, said "Mistress of Evil" didn't open as strongly as the studio had hoped, but said she was encouraged by international receipts and expects the movie to perform well overseas in the coming weeks.

"Mistress of Evil" made $117 million overseas, bringing its world-wide total to $153 million, according to estimates.

Overall, the studio's core Walt Disney Pictures label -- which doesn't include Marvel, Pixar or Star Wars movies -- has had a robust year, with reboots of "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" grossing $543 million and $355.6 million respectively.

Led by "Avengers: Endgame," which made $357.1 million domestically in its opening weekend and became the highest-grossing movie globally of all time, every one of Disney's 2019 feature film releases have grossed more than $45 million in the U.S. and Canada opening weekend except for "Mistress of Evil."

"Joker," from AT&T Inc.'s Warner Bros., retained its momentum in its third weekend, grossing $29.2 million. The Batman spinoff -- which became a lightning rod for prerelease intrigue as critics and others argued the origin story hewed too close to themes consistent with mass shootings -- has so far made $247.2 million domestically.

The film, which has made $737.5 million globally, is Warner Bros. highest-grossing title so far this year.

In third place, "Zombieland: Double Tap," from Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Entertainment, made an estimated $26.7 million in the U.S. and Canada. In 2009, "Zombieland" grossed $24.7 million domestically.

The weekend was one of the most equally divided in recent memory, as it was the first time in 21 weeks Hollywood had three separate films gross more than $25 million domestically.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 20, 2019 15:46 ET (19:46 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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