This weekend “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will arrive at about 3,700 theaters and is predicted to open in the $45 million range, while “Zombieland: Double Tap” will battle “Joker” for second place in the mid-$20 millions. The film, starring Angelina Jolie, told from the perspective of the sorceress in “Sleeping Beauty,” is running behind the first movie’s opening weekend of $69 million in 2014. “Maleficent” eventually went on to become a box office smash hit, earning more than $750 million globally from a $180 million budget.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is also opening in all major international markets, starting on Wednesday with France, Scandinavia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Disney has already held premieres in London, Moscow and Rome in addition to the Sept. 30 premiere in Hollywood.
The cast includes returnees Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville along with newcomers Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Skrein and Chiwetel Ejoifor. Joachim Ronning, who co-directed “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” also directed “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”
The story centers on Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora, played by Fanning, and the impact of Aurora’s upcoming marriage. It’s one of the few offerings that attempt to appeal to female audiences after Warner Bros.’ “Joker” dominated domestic moviegoing for the past two weeks.