Disney had the sense to back its Sleeping Beauty spin-off starring Angelina Jolie, “Maleficent,” knowing that the Disney brand could sell the film worldwide. After all, the studio has done well with fairy tale princesses for its entire history, from “Snow White” to “Frozen.” Now “Maleficent,” which opened May 30, has topped $700 million worldwide, marking Jolie’s highest-grossing live action film of all time domestically, internationally and globally, as well as the highest grossing original film of 2014 worldwide.
“Maleficent” is a shining jewel in a dull summer box office that has dipped 20 % so far. The year to date is down by 6 %. The other Hollywood studios are paying the price for sticking to lookalike formulas, chasing sequels and the fickle male demo. Many of the disappointing films aimed at men didn’t pull enough women, and several films aimed at women have done well even with mixed reviews, from spring hit “The Other Woman” ($193 million worldwide) to summer’s “The Fault in Our Stars” ($248 million worldwide) and low-budget “Tammy” ($78 million worldwide). What if there were more of them?