Bring back Angelina Jolie from a three-and-a-half-year absence on the big screen, and you will get the crowds. Or so it seems. The latest movie adaptation around a fairy tale, Maleficent, starring Jolie in the titular role earned a strong $70 million opening in North America over the weekend and an additional $100 million from foreign markets. This marks the best ever opening for an Angelina Jolie film, and it yet again shows the audience-drawing power of this charismatic actress. Be it an action flick, a drama film, or a fairy tale adventure like Maleficent, the name Angelina Jolie itself holds some mysterious power over the audience that makes them come in numbers. Having said that, Maleficent has seen the weakest opening of the four high-budget blockbusters which released in May, as each one of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla and X-Men: Days of Future Past earned more than $90 million in the first weekend at the domestic market. As Maleficent has been made on a budget of $180 million, which is in line with these other summer films, the opening numbers themselves do not inform much of where the movie is eventually headed. Disney would be pleased with anything above $500 million in overall worldwide earnings, one would imagine, and based on the opening numbers, we could be looking at close to $200 million from the domestic box-office which once again makes the run in the foreign markets critical for the movie. It does appear though, that the fairy tale plot and the Angelina Jolie magic, should get Maleficent soaring high outside North America too. A few weeks will tell us more!
Something we do know now for sure is that the other wide release of the weekend A Million Ways to Die in the West is pretty much dead. Made on a partly $40 million budget, the opening weekend earnings of $17 million in North America will still not be seen good enough for this Seth MacFarlane comedy flick. Two years back, MacFarlane scored a surprising hit with Ted, but it seems his choice of also putting himself in front of the camera has backfired. For comparison’s sake, Ted had opened with more than thrice of the opening of A Million Ways to Die in the West with $54 million. So MaFarlane has come nowhere close to achieving that kind of success this year. The movie starred the likes of Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron too, but this should hardly hurt their careers much, and the only one who would have some soul-searching to do after this debacle is MacFarlane himself.
X-Men: Days of Future Past took a sharp 64% fall in its second weekend in North America which is pretty much the way summer blockbusters fall nowadays after the first week. There is hardly anything to worry for Wolverine & Co as this latest instalment of the X-Men franchise has already become the biggest hit of the series with worldwide gross earnings of $500 million so far. There are still quite a few weeks to go before the movie’s theatrical run ends, and the movie is well on its way to becoming a huge hit for 20th Century Fox. Equally important is that director Bryan Singer has revitalized the X-Men franchise with X-Men: Days of Future Past and now a similar success would be expected from the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. On the other hand, the pace of Godzilla seems to have slowed down, with $375 million worldwide earnings so far, which includes $200 million from foreign markets. This monster is yet to hit the theatres in China and Japan, and only when it reaches those shores, we are likely to see the collection figures soar really high. We’ll keep an eye out for this one.
And since we are talking of the blockbusters of this summer season so far, an update on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 cannot be forgotten. The movie has earned $690 million worldwide so far, and is about $70 million short of crossing its predecessor’s tally. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is certain to end up as the weakest in the entire Spider-Man franchise when it comes to the domestic box-office, but the fact that this makes less difference to a movie now, shows that a Hollywood movie of such nature is hardly an American thing alone anymore. Global audience is marching in numbers, enthralled by the offerings of Hollywood, and emerging markets like China are driving the movie’s earnings to the top. For this reason, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has turned out to be a massive hit for Sony Pictures, and we will definitely see Spidey swing around for a little while longer!
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Maleficent ($70.0 million)
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past ($32.6 million; second weekend)
3. A Million Ways to Die in the West ($17.1 million)
4. Godzilla ($12.2 million; third weekend)
5. Blended ($8.4 million; second weekend)