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'Maleficent' is a hero at the box office

Anjelina Jolie is Maleficent
Anjelina Jolie is Maleficent
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Walt Disney's latest film "Maleficent" starring Angelina Jolie in the starring role cast a spell on the box office and generated $70 million in theaters in the United States and Canada, according to Rentrak which compiles box office receipts, added today's New York Times. (June 2). For more on the live-action remake of "Sleeping Beauty" visit http://www.nytimes.com.

"Angelina Jolie and Walt Disney’s live-action label turned out surprisingly large crowds for “Maleficent” over the weekend, as Seth MacFarlane discovered there is no surer way to die in the West than making a vanity film," added The New York Times.

“Maleficent,” starring Ms. Jolie as an evil fairy is inspired by the “Wicked”-franchise and makes the villain a sort of feminist hero for a new generation of girls. "Foreign audiences responded even more favorably, pushing this PG-rated fantasy to $100.6 million in overseas ticket sales, a total that was “significantly above what we needed,” said Sean Bailey, Walt Disney’s president for live-action production to The Times.

“We were pleased to see that the movie played well across all audiences, male and female, family and general,” Mr. Bailey added to the newspaper. "Although “Maleficent” drew mixed reviews, domestic audiences gave it an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls," added the report.

"It’s still a big question whether “Maleficent” will make money. Disney spent at least $300 million to make and market the film. Accounting for the cut of ticket sales given to theater owners, it will need to take in roughly double that total just to break even at the box office. And the movie faces a potential buzz saw next weekend: “The Fault in Our Stars,” a tear-jerker love story from 20th Century Fox, is expected to be enormously popular among women and girls, the “Maleficent” target audience," added The Times.

"But the strong initial turnout gave Ms. Jolie and Disney important victories. Ms. Jolie, who has not appeared on movie screens for four years, proved that she remains capable of herding people into theaters. (“It’s not a fairy tale: There are still movie stars,” Mr. Bailey said.) A flop would also have complicated her efforts to make an Oscar run this year for “Unbroken,” a period drama that will be her second effort to direct a feature film," added The Times.

Maleficent a hero for Disney

"Maleficent" is expected to draw new life into the Disney franchise. "For Disney, the response to “Maleficent” demonstrated life at the studio’s signature live-action label; three of its last four releases have been box-office failures (“Muppets Most Wanted,” “Million Dollar Arm,” “The Lone Ranger”), and the fourth, “Saving Mr. Banks,” was profitable but turned into Oscar derby roadkill," added the Times. "The big turnout also showed that Disney could pull a film out of the fire; early buzz was not good after reports of reshoots and re-editing."

"Hollywood was watching “Maleficent” carefully, in part because other big-budget movies centered on villains are on the way. Sony, for instance, has two “Spider-Man” spinoffs, tentatively titled “Venom” and “The Sinister Six,” added the report.

"How did Disney pull it off? Some analysts theorized that mothers and daughters were interested in “Maleficent” partly because they had such a good time at Disney’s animated “Frozen.” Others pointed to a marketing campaign that broke through the clutter with bold imagery and signed up the pop star Lana Del Rey to update the classic Disney song “Once Upon a Dream,” added The Times. In other words, Staten Island movie fans, little girls still believe in fairy tales and girls of all ages can relate to Jolie as a villain of blockbuster proportions. Who isn't going to root fir Jolie as a wicked witch? Many feel that the super-mom is already a superhero already. We all love a good villain. "Maleficent" is no exception. Check your local listings for movies and showtimes!