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‘Maleficent’ Is Less Than Magnificent as Annual Box Office Performance Continues to Slide

While the Disney sequel opened to less than half of the original, it edged "Joker" and "Zombieland: Double Tap" for the top spot.

Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s MALEFICENT:  MISTRESS OF EVIL.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Courtesy of Disney

While specialty titles spent this weekend breaking records, overall performance showed that the season’s weakness continues. The clearest sign comes from the disappointing start for “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil;” following “Gemini Man,” it’s the second very expensive domestic disappointment in as many weeks. Another sequel, “Zombieland; Double Tap” had a decent start, although as expected it was bested by the third weekend of “Joker.”

All told, it’s another weekend below the same period in 2018. With an estimated total of around $136 million, that’s 20% lower than last year, when “Halloween” opened to more than “Maleficent” and “Zombieland” combined. It also extends the annual shortfall to nearly $550 million and almost 6%, eliminating any real hope of box-office growth.

Disney dominance is propelled by an assembly line that includes its live-action versions of animated and other kids classics. However, this sequel to “Maleficent” opened to less than half of the 2014 original; at a  $200 million production cost, it’s a weak start. The rest of the world took in $117 million, and its domestic ‘A’ Cinemascore suggests there is hope. Still, with the small slate of Disney products so critical to theaters, those that fall short take a toll on exhibitors.

Before Emma Stone won an Oscar and Jesse Eisenberg made “The Social Network,” they starred in the 2009 horror comedy “Zombieland.” And while it can be difficult to reboot a franchise a decade later, the principals returned. However, while the budget increased (from $23.6 million to $42 million), its opening weekend did not. Adjusted, the original opened to $29 million; “Double Tap” made a decent but unspectacular $26.7 million. Hopes now ride on its pre-Halloween playtime.

"Joker"

“Joker”

Warner Bros.

Second place fell to “Joker,” which already has reached nearly $250 million. For context, that is ahead of last fall’s smash hits “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it has a shot of adding $75 million more to its domestic take. It is nearing $750 million worldwide, with an ultimate take of between $900 million and $1 billion in sight.

That’s without China, which won’t release the film. But with a budget of about $65 million — about 40% compared to “Mistress of Evil” — that’s a huge win for Warners.

At a reported $40 million cost, “The Addams Family” is turning into a nice result for United Artists. Again, with Halloween set to boost it, $57 million in 10 days positions it for a possible $100 million total. Foreign might not be as bountiful, but this is a film that will have a strong post-theater appeal.

At less than a third of the cost of “Gemini Man,” it looks even better. Ang Lee’s disastrous film dropped close to 60% after a weak start. Will Smith thrived with “Aladdin,” but that wasn’t his ride. This is. Foreign is more than double so far, but it won’t be enough to save this from a significant loss.

Contrasting with the struggles for higher-budget entries, “Downton Abbey” is nearing $90 million and “Hustlers” passed $100 million. These will be nice profit makers for their companies, and their successes are why this this fall’s weekly losses aren’t worse.

The Top Ten

1. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 43; Est. budget: $185 million

$36,000,000 in 3,790 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $9,499; Cumulative: $36,000,000

2. Joker (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend: #1

$29,205,000 (-48%) in 4,090 theaters (-284); PTA: $7,141; Cumulative: $247,229,000

3. Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $48 million

$26,725,000 in 3,468 theaters; PTA: $7,706; Cumulative: $26,725,000

4. The Addams Family (United Artists) Week 2; Last weekend: #2

$16,057,000 (-47%) in 4,102 theaters (+95); PTA: $3,914; Cumulative: $56,816,000

5. Gemini Man (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend: #3

$8,500,000 (-59%) in 3,642 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,334; Cumulative: $36,517,000

6. Abominable (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend: #4

$3,500,000 (-42%) in 2,647 theaters (-849); PTA: $1,322; Cumulative: $53,915,000

7. Downton Abbey (Focus) Week 5; Last weekend: #5

$3,080,000 (-37%) in 2,258 theaters (-761); PTA: $1,364; Cumulative: $88,612,000

8. Judy (Roadside Attractions) Week 4; Last weekend: #7

$2,056,000 (-36%) in 1,418 theaters (-209); PTA: $1,450; Cumulative: $19,018,000

9. Hustlers (STX) Week 6; Last weekend: #6

$2,050,000 (-47%) in 1575 theaters (-782); PTA: $1,302; Cumulative: $101,872,000

10. It: Chapter Two (Warner Bros.) Week; Last weekend: #8

$1,505,000 (-52%) in 1,528 theaters (-775); PTA: $985; Cumulative: $209,660,000

 

 

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