Box Office: Why ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Fizzled

Variety | 10/21/2019 | Rebecca Rubin
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Despite nabbing first place at the domestic box office, Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted significantly below expectations and demonstrated that even the most powerful studio in Hollywood is susceptible to missteps.

The follow-up to 2014’s “Maleficent” kicked off in North America with a lackluster $36 million bow, an underwhelming result for a film that cost $185 million to produce before taking global marketing and distribution fees into account. Heading into the weekend, the dark fantasy adventure starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning and Michelle Pfeiffer was expected to earn around $45 million, but even those figures would have been a steep decline from the first film’s $69 million launch. Given its robust marketing spend, sources speculate “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will need to pull in at least $475 million globally to break even and closer to $500 million to turn a profit theatrically.

Start - North - America - Maleficent - Mistress

With a soft start in North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will rely heavily on the international box office to mitigate any potential losses. An indication for optimism: the follow-up had a far stronger opening overseas, where it collected $117 million over the weekend, pushing its global bounty to $153 million. Outside of the domestic market, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” posted the biggest launch in China with $22.4 million, marking a 15% increase in ticket sales from the original. Another promising sign is the first movie earned $500 million internationally, twice what “Maleficent” made in the States. The film ended its box office run with a mighty $758 million globally.

“Any time you have a follow-up to a film that’s successful, the expectations are really high,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore. “I don’t think anyone was expecting it to open to the degree that the first one did, but for whatever reason this film didn’t resonate...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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