‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Defeats ‘Joker’ with $36 Million Opening Weekend

     October 20, 2019


It’s official: Disney is once again king of the box office as Maleficent: Mistress of Evil defeats recent champ Joker and fellow newcomer Zombieland: Double Tap with an opening weekend total of $36 million. The sequel stars Angelina Jolie as the titular Sleeping Beauty villain with Elle Fanning and Michelle Pfeiffer turning up in supporting roles.

Touting an A CinemaScore and available in 3,790 theaters nationwide, the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent conquered the box office with style. Even though Maleficent: Mistress of Evil failed to meet early projections of approximately $45 million, its $36 million domestic box office total is commendable. Sure, $36 million is a pretty shaky number, especially for a Disney flick and especially when you consider the budget for this movie was reportedly somewhere in the $185 million range. However, when it comes to gauging the health of the box office (which continues to cause us to sweat and fret and worry on the regular), this number — along with some other key numbers that I’ll mention in a moment — indicates Maleficent: Mistress of Evil‘s opening weekend reaped some positive results amidst the low opening weekend total.


Image via Disney

Add to that $36 million domestic box office total another $117 million earned from the combined 56 international markets Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opened in and you have a global total of $153 million. Walt Disney Studios has also shared some interesting numbers of the audience demographics of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil which help flesh out this sequel’s box office narrative. The audience was primarily adults, with 53% turning out, and 39% were families. Women made up 56% of the audiences while 44% were male.

So, what’s the TL;DR on Maleficent: Mistress of Evil thus far? The sequel, which continues the story of a movie initially made five years ago in a hungry bit to revitalize aging Disney IP, was initially met with critical reviews that questioned the necessity of existence and were not too impressed with what it offered. But as we’ve seen with recent cases like Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King (which continues to bring in money four months after its release), when the critics balk, the audiences seem more likely to reward. $36 million may be grim when it comes to Disney making their money back on a big, risky film like this one (2014’s Maleficent conjured up a $69 million domestic opening) but from where I sit, those audience numbers and worldwide total are not nothing — especially when you consider the bar for what signals a successful opening weekend continues to change. Even if Mistress of Evil falters, there is proof audiences are more likely to check out a Disney flick over other offerings. Even when it’s an nakedly thirst attempt to jam-pack big named into a bloated sequel that nobody asked for.


Image via Warner Bros.

Coming in at number two this weekend is Joker, the previous box office kingpin now in its third weekend in theaters. The flick about a man named Fleck reeled in $29.2 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total up to $247.2 million. Joker didn’t seem to be thrown off course too much despite losing 284 locations and dipping 47.7% in its earnings. The Todd Phillips-directed flick is still bringing in $7,141 per theater. Even as the initial glow of box office glory fades, it looks like Joker will hold strong in the coming weeks if this is where we’re at in week three.

Meanwhile,  Zombieland 2: Double Tap — the other newcomer this weekend and a sequel to 2009’s Zombieland — fared decently. Earning the number three spot in the chart, the mid-budget comedy made back approximately half of its $48 million budget with $26.7 million earned domestically. Unlike the movie’s zombies ravenous for human prey, audiences seemed to have about the same amount of appetite for the sequel. They gave it just a little more money than Zombieland, which nabbed $24.7 million domestically in its 2009 opening weekend. If these numbers hold or follow closely to its predecessor’s earnings, we could see  Zombieland 2 leave theaters with domestic total somewhere in the $75 million range.


Image via Paramount

From here, the weekend box office chart takes some interesting turns. The Addams Family, a new animated adaptation of the beloved spooky comic strip family, raked in $16 million over the weekend. The flick, which MGM has already greenlit for a sequel due in 2021, now has a total of $57 million and holds the number four chart spot. At number five is Gemini Man, which continues to thud and chug along with $8.5 million earned domestically, barely adding to its U.S. total of $36.5 million. International audiences have seemingly warmed to the Will Smith-led action flick shot in a high frame rate of 120 fps and helmed by Ang Lee more than U.S. audiences. Gemini Man‘s current international total is now up to $82.2 million with the most profitable markets including France ($5.1M), Germany ($4.5M), Russia ($2.7M), and Mexico ($2.67M).

Rounding out the middle of the chart is Abominable, with $3.5 million earned domestically and hanging out in the number six spot. At number seven is Downton Abbey, now the most successful film for Focus Features, with $3.1 million earned domestically. In the number eight spot is the Judy Garland biopic Judy, which has reeled in $2.1 million this weekend for a domestic total of $19 million. Bringing up the rear is Hustlers in ninth place with $2 million earned domestically and IT: Chapter Two is at number 10 with another $1.5 million pocketed.

Curious to know more about the box office newbies, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and Zombieland 2? Then check out our conversation with Maleficent director Joachim Rønning on finding the emotional core of the sequel and be sure to get your eyes on our positive review of Zombieland 2.






Maleficent: Mistress of Evil








Zombieland 2: Double Tap




The Addams Family




Gemini Man








Downton Abbey












IT: Chapter Two




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