Box Office: MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL Casts a Weak Spell

October 21, 2019

Maleficent might be the mistress of evil, but her powers are slightly lackluster at the box office.

Angelina Jolie‘s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opened below expectations at the box office but still managed to take the top spot with an estimated $36 million, bumping Joker ($29.2 million) into the second spot. The Disney sequel was projected to open with around $40 million more domestically, coming in 45 percent behind the original 2014 film which opened to $69.4 million.

The Joachim Rønning-directed Mistress of Evil picks up a few years after the events of the first film with Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning) ruling over the Moors after the death of her father King Stefan. As the queen finds a partner in Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) and announces the pair announce their intentions to wed, familiar bonds complicate matters and cause separation and turmoil between Aurora and her godmother Maleficent (Jolie). As the truth unravels and the real villain of the story is unmasked, can there really be a fairytale ending for the betrothed pair?

The cast also includes Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of Prince Phillip’s mother Queen Ingrith, and Robert Lindsay brings to life her husband King John. Imelda Staunton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple also star.

Although Mistress of Evil is Disney’s lowest opening this year, it is set to do much better with the help of international theaters. The film took in an estimated $117 million overseas during opening weekend, bringing its total to $153 million. With a budget of $185 million, it’s a dismal opening for the title, proving audiences weren’t invested in a sequel. Those that did spend their money on it are enjoying it at least, moviegoers have given it an A Cinema Score.

The third spot goes to another fantasy sequel, Sony’s Zombieland 2: Double Tap with an estimated $26.7 domestically, according to Comscore. Double Tap performed slightly higher than its 2009 predecessor which made $24.7 million, though estimates are not accounting for inflation.

After a decade, the original gang, including Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone, return to the Ruben Fleischer-directed zombie comedy for an all-new adventure. As Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg), Little Rock (Breslin), and Wichita (Stone) make an abandoned White House their home, the foursome use their zombie-killing expertise while facing off against evolved zombies and fellow survivors.

Newcomers include Rosario Dawson who portrays Harrelson’s love interest Nevada, Fellow zombie fighting duo Thomas Middleditch as Flagstaff and Luke Wilson as Albuquerque, and Zoey Deutch as Madison.

Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit made its debut in limited release, earning an impressive $350,000 in just 5 locations domestically. It’s a great start for the Taika Waititi-directed dark comedy at a $70,000 per theater average.

The film tells the story of a young boy named Jojo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) in Nazi Germany during World War II, who feels he can only count on his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler (Waititi) after being deceived by his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson).

Reviews were split among critics, with EW giving the film an A- calling it “an audacious piece of Third Reich whimsy that almost definitely shouldn’t work as well as it does.” Jojo Rabbit will expand into more theaters in the coming weeks.

The Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe-led The Lighthouse made an estimated $419,764 during its limited opening across 8 screens domestically, making it one of the best limited release openings of the year.  In the black-and-white horror film, the pair star as lighthouse keepers who start to lose their sanity due to the solitude that comes with the life they’ve chosen.

EW gave the Robert Eggers film a B+ calling it “a black-and-white fever dream of a film that keels between sea shanty and psychodrama, with heavy doses of the absurd.” It opens in wide release next week.

Rounding out the top five are returning titles The Addams Family in the fourth spot earning an estimated $16 million in its second week, and Will Smith’s Gemini Man, also in its sophomore frame, took in $8.5 million.

Overall box office is down 5 percent year-to-date, holding steady from the last two weeks, according to Comscore. Check out the Oct. 18-20 numbers below:

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil—$36 million

Joker — $29.2 million

Zombieland 2: Double Tap—$26.7 million

The Addams Family—$16 million

Gemini Man— $8.5 million

Abominable — $3.5 million

Downton Abbey — $3 million

Judy— $2.06 million

Hustlers — $2.05 million

It Chapter Two — $1.5 million


(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)