‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ tops box office but falls short of expectations


The box office was dominated by villains and sequels as Disney and Buena Vista’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” toppled “Joker” from the top spot after two weekends of dominance.

The $185-million film, which stars Angelina Jolie as the titular “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, opened with a disappointing $36 million, well below analyst projections of $45 million to $50 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore. Internationally it earned $117 million for a global cumulative of $153 million.

It earned a mixed reception with an A CinemaScore but a 41% “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.


A follow-up to 2014’s “Maleficent,” the sequel failed to recapture the allure of the first film, which opened with $69.4 million in North America on its way to $758 million in global ticket sales. The result may reflect fatigue among moviegoers of Disney’s live-action remakes, following underperformers such as “Dumbo” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

The overall box office was down 18.1% from the same weekend a year ago, and the year-to-date is down 5%. However, it was a particularly strong weekend for specialty films.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight opened Taika Waititi’s Holocaust comedy “Jojo Rabbit” in five locations to $350,000 for an impressive per-screen average of $70,000, one of the best specialty box office openings of the year. It earned a 77% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

A24 opened “The Lighthouse” in eight locations to $419,764 for a strong per-screen average of $52,471. It earned a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Meanwhile, Neon’s “Parasite” added 30 locations for a total of 33, earning $1.2 million in its second weekend for a still impressive $37,616 per screen average and a cumulative $1.8 million. The critically acclaimed Bong Joon Ho film enjoyed a 233% increase over its opening weekend, finishing just outside the top 10.

In second place, Warner Bros.’ “Joker” added $29.2 million for a cumulative $247.2 million. Worldwide, it crossed the $700-million mark after just three weeks in theaters, currently standing at $737.5 million.

At No. 3, Sony’s “Zombieland: Double Tap” opened with $26.7 million.

Original cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin return a decade later for the sequel alongside newcomers Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch.


The first “Zombieland” opened with $24.7 million in 2009 on its way to $102.4 million in global receipts. An early entry in the zombie genre revival, it earned an A- CinemaScore and a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Comparatively, “Zombieland 2” earned a B+ CinemaScore and a 67% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In fourth place, United Artists Releasing’s “The Addams Family” animated remake added $16.1 million in its second weekend (a 47% drop) for a cumulative $56.6 million.

Rounding out the top five, Paramount’s “Gemini Man” added $8.5 million in its second weekend (a 59% drop) for a cumulative $36.5 million, a terrible result for the $138-million film. Globally the film has earned $82.2 million.

At No. 6, Universal’s “Abominable” added $3.5 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $53.9 million.

In seventh place, Focus Features’ “Downton Abbey” added $3 million in its fifth weekend for a cumulative $88.6 million.

At No. 8, Roadside Attractions’ “Judy” added $2.05 million in its fourth weekend for a cumulative $19 million.

In ninth place, STX Entertainment’s “Hustlers” added $2.06 million in its sixth weekend. The film crossed the $100-million mark this weekend for a cumulative $101.9 million, marking a big win for the beleaguered STX.

Rounding out the top 10, Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” added $1.5 million in its seventh weekend for a cumulative $209.7 million.

Saban Films started its roadshow tour of Kevin Smith’s “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot” in Asbury Park, N.J., with $93,520 for a cumulative $1.1 million including Fathom Events screenings during the week.

This week, Sony’s Screen Gems reveals the cop drama “Black and Blue,” STX Entertainment opens the horror “Countdown” and 101 Studios releases “The Current War: Director’s Cut.”