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

Angelina Jolie, ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’
Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”
(Disney)

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”


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