News

‘Maleficent’ casts $70 million spell over box office

‘Maleficent’ casts $70 million spell over box office

/Image.net

By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Maleficent,” Walt Disney’s special-effects laden take on “Sleeping Beauty’s” wicked fairy godmother, captivated moviegoers, collecting $70 million in ticket sales to win the North American weekend box office stakes.

The movie starring Angelina Jolie as the black-robed villain finished far ahead of last week’s winner, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which took $32.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters.

Seth MacFarlane’s western comedy “A Million Ways to Die in the West” was third with $17.1 million for the three days from Friday to Sunday, according to box office tracking firm Rentrak.

Produced for $180 million, “Maleficent” received mixed reviews but opened strongly with $4.2 million on Thursday night and conjured up more than 80 percent of advance ticket sales for the weekend, according to movie ticketing site Fandango.

The film is the latest in a line of reimagined classics, following “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010 and “Oz the Great and Powerful” in 2013. Industry experts forecast the film would open with $55 million, according to the movie site Box Office Mojo. “We’re very excited with this start,” said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, noting it hoped for an opening of around $60 million. “Maleficent” took in another $100 at overseas box offices.

Hollis said momentum built through weekend on positive word of mouth. With schools beginning to let out and a “general absence of family product in this marketplace,” Disney was optimistic for the film continuing its strong performance.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” with Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in the seventh installment based on the Marvel Comic series, has collected more than $162 million in sales in domestic theaters since its May 23 release and has generated $500 million worldwide in just two weeks, distributor Fox said.

“A Million Ways to Die in the West,” MacFarlane’s second time directing a live action film after his 2012 hit “Ted” about a foul-mouthed toy bear, disappointed in its opening weekend.

Studio and industry projections had anticipated a haul of about $20 million to $25 million for the modestly budgeted ($40 million) film which stars MacFarlane along with Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris. The film received tepid reviews with only 33 percent of 128 critics giving it a “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site.

Godzilla,” the latest installment of the 60-year-old series about a giant lizard, was fourth with $12.2 million. Made for $160 million, the special effects infused film has generated $175 million domestically since it was released on May 16.

Blended,” a romantic comedy pairing Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in their third film, was fifth with $8.4 million. They play single parents stuck at a resort in Africa. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” was distributed by Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox. Universal, a unit of Comcast, released “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” “Godzilla” and “Blended” were distributed by Warner Brothers, a unit of Time Warner.

Recent Headlines

in Local

State Lawmaker: IDOT Not the Only Agency Whose Hiring Process May be Suspect

idot

Federal monitor to check agency on hiring practices

in Local

Rauner Denies Involvement in Springfield Reporter’s Resignation

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Bruce Rauner says his fingerprints are not on the Chicago Sun-Times.

in Local

Raymond Cub Scouts Still Improving

medical

Police say the condition of three Cub Scouts is improving after they were injured in a chemical explosion.

in Local

Springfield Unemployment Numbers Show Decline

jobs

Unemployment dropped in all of Illinois' metro areas in September

in Election 2014, Local

Durbin: Sun-Times Reporter’s Departure “Worrisome”

Republican state Sen., Jim Oberweis, right, offers to give Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, more paper after Durbin joked about only getting one page of paper for notes before their first of two televised debates prior to the Nov. 4 election Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, in Chicago. Oberweis, a dairy entrepreneur from Sugar Grove, has acknowledged it will take a big GOP year to unseat Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate who's represented Illinois on Capitol Hill for more than three decades.

Bruce Rauner’s campaign is being accused of bullying the Chicago Sun-Times, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says that should be a troubling sign to voters.