How much will Angelina Jolie's Maleficent sequel make in its box office opening? An early forecast is in, and it's quite a bit lower than the first movie's opening weekend in 2014. That doesn't mean the prediction is accurate, but there are some fair reasons to think Maleficent: Mistress of Evil may not quite rule fall 2019.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens October 18, the same day we get Zombieland 2: Double Tap. Sequel vs. sequel.
Box Office Pro has an early forecast out for Maleficent 2 to have a domestic opening of $30-50 million. They settled on a prediction of about $37 million. The first movie had a $69 million opening weekend in late May 2014. So $69M to $37M would be quite a drop, if even close to accurate. But these numbers are called "early" and "predictions" and "forecasts" for good reason. (For the record, the site has Zombieland 2 opening around $30 million.)
When the first Maleficent came out in 2014, its fresh take on Sleeping Beauty was a big hit, especially at the foreign box office. Check out the numbers, per Box Office Mojo:
Opening weekend: $69,431,298
Critics were iffy on Maleficent, and the movie has a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 264 critics. Fans gave it a 70% audience score from 175,794 users, and an A CinemaScore from moviegoers polled opening night.
So if the fans like the sequel, too, that word-of-mouth could certainly go a long way. That said, it has been five years since the first movie. Is there a widespread clamoring to see what happens next? Maleficent has a big fan base, but it's not exactly Toy Story. Also, for comparison, Disney's live-action Alice in Wonderland movie made over $1 billion in 2010 but the sequel came out six years later and dropped 77% from the total, only making just under $300M worldwide.
Also, competition may be a factor. Not only is Zombieland 2 opening the same day as Maleficent 2, The Addams Family will have had a head start on October 11. That film is taking advantage of the Columbus Day holiday, no school for kids, and that's something Mistress of Evil won't be able to capitalize on.
Plus, I wouldn't say it's forgotten -- I have seen a trailer air on TV -- but I do feel like the new Maleficent movie is one of Disney's more overlooked projects for 2019. I was very surprised when it was moved from May 2020 to this year's already very crowded and competitive calendar. Disney already had The Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, and Dumbo, with Frozen 2 still to come. Some box office analysts are predicting 2020 will be a bad year at the movies, and just from here I'm wondering why half of 2019's crop didn't just wait a few months.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil could surprise these box office prognosticators by being an even bigger hit than the first film. Angelina Jolie is still a major star -- soon to be a major MCU star -- and so many young fans adored Maleficent. There is definitely a passionate fan base eager for this movie, it's just a matter of how many other fans will join them for opening weekend. And the prediction was just for the domestic opening, not the foreign markets -- which saved Dumbo's butt earlier this year and would surely do the same if needed for Maleficent 2.
Here's more on the plot to Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, which co-stars Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora and Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, plus Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Harris Dickinson is now playing Prince Phillip in a recasting from the first movie. How much do you think Maleficent will make in its opening? Vote in the poll below.