Weekend Box Office: MALEFICENT Rules with $70 Million; A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST Stumbles in Third

     June 1, 2014


The final weekend in May had room for only one regent – and it wasn’t Seth MacFarlane.  Disney’s Maleficent ruled the box office with an estimated $70 million from 3,948 locations while MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West settled for a disappointing third place debut.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Maleficent $70,000,000 $70
2.  X-Men: Days of Future Past $32,600,000 $162
3.  A Million Ways to Die in the West $17,069,000 $17
4.  Godzilla $12,225,000 $174.6
5.  Blended $8,425,000 $29.6
6.  Neighbors $7,715,000 $128.6
7.  The Amazing Spider-Man $3,775,000 $192.7
8.  Million Dollar Arm $3,700,000 $28
9.  Chef $2,009,000 $6.9
10.  The Other Woman $1,425,000 $81.1

Full details after the jump.

maleficent-poster-angelina-jolieBetween this weekend’s two major new releases, Maleficent cast the stronger spell.  Disney’s PG-rated reimaging of the Sleeping Beauty story arrived two weeks ahead of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and five weeks after Rio 2.  In other words, it was just in time to enchant family audiences.

Using the same formula that made Oz the Great and Powerful a hit last year, Maleficent combines CGI and live-action sequences but adds Angelina Jolie (in her first major role since 2010).  This morning’s estimate gives Jolie the biggest domestic opening of her career, topping the $50.9 million of 2010’s WantedMaleficent was expected to bring in about $60 million but it ended up higher thanks to a nice Saturday bump.  It crushed the $56.2 million that Snow White and the Huntsman earned on the same weekend in 2012, although Universal’s reimagined fairytale was rated PG-13 and lacked the 3D/large format price advantage that served Maleficent so well.

When compared to Oz the Great and Powerful, however, Maleficent came up a bit short.  Oz brought in $79.1 million from its opening and ended with $493.3 million in worldwide sales.  Maleficent could still wind up in that same global neighborhood, however.  So far, audiences have embraced the evil queen, giving the film a glowing ‘A’ CinemaScore.  By comparison, Oz the Great and Powerful scored a B+, as did Snow White and the Huntsman.  Because A-listers like Jolie still carry a lot of weight overseas, Disney can probably bank on strong international numbers. The film has already taken in $100 million from 35 markets.

Back in the US, Maleficent only has one more week before How to Train Your Dragon 2 sucks up all the family-audience oxygen, so next weekend’s hold will prove critical.  Oz had great holds in its second and third frames, but it was released in March… it’s not too hard to stay on top when you’re going up against The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

The sophomore hold for last weekend’s number one film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was a little steeper than Fox would have liked.  The all-star sequel earned an estimated $32.6 million, for a decline of 64%.  That’s more than X-Men: First Class, which fell by 56.2% on its sophomore frame in 2011, but better than the 69% drop that followed X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s debut in 2009.  But the big news this morning is that X-Men: Days of Future Past has already passed the $500 million mark worldwide.  The film earned $500.2 million in its first two weeks, making it the most successful release in the franchise’s history. The previous record was $459.3 million, set by 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.  Last week, the sequel also gave Fox its biggest international debut of all time, breaking the record set by Avatar.

million-ways-die-west-posterThis weekend’s second new release is poised to break no records.  A Million Ways to Die in the West is Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to 2012’s Ted, a success of such magnitude that anything that followed it (save a sequel) was in danger of looking like a failure by comparison.  Luckily, no comparison is necessary to gauge the relative disappointment of A Million Ways.  Audiences gave the film a ‘B” CinemaScore while Rotten Tomatoes has it at just 33%.  Universal said it was expecting an opening in the $24 million range, though it barely broke $17 million.  They should count themselves lucky; yesterday it looked like $15 million might be a stretch.

The R-rated comedy follows a long line of disappointing Western-themed releases, including last summer’s Lone Ranger reboot.  The latter opened to $29.2 million and ended with just over $260 million in global sales.  That doesn’t seem so awful, until you factor in the film’s pricetag of $215 million (pre-marketing).  Luckily for Universal, A Million Ways to Die in the West was not as pricey (the studio is claiming a budget of $40 million).  On the other hand, there is almost no chance that the film’s North American loses will be mitigated overseas.  Not only are Westerns a tough sell in many countries, but the fact that Seth MacFarlane is now in front of the camera instead of voicing an animated bear can only hurt the film’s global chances.

No thanks to A Million Ways to Die in the West, this weekend’s overall box office was on par with the same frame last year, when Fast & Furious 6 was enjoying its second weekend in first place.  Also of note is the indie release Chef, directed by and starring Jon Favreau.  This weekend, Chef managed to remain in the top ten for a second frame after expanding its run by 126 theatres (now playing in 624 total).  A budget for the film has not been released, but so far Chef has earned almost $7 million after four weeks in limited release.

Next week brings two very different new features: Edge of Tomorrow and The Fault in Our Stars.  The first is a sci-fi action film starring Tom Cruise and is currently projected to take in between $25 and $35 million.  Cruise helped Oblivion get to $37 million last year, so the high end of that range is possible, provided the film itself is not a disappointment to genre fans like last month’s TranscendenceThe Fault in Our Stars is a wild card.  Most predictions put the film’s opening in the $20-$25 million range, though there is reason to believe the romantic drama could be a bigger hit.  Based on a VERY popular young-adult novel and starring Shailene Woodley, fresh off her success in Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars could reach $30 million, as Dear John did in 2010.  Depending on how well Maleficent holds, it could be a close race for first place…


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