So far in 2019, Disney’s reimaginings have found incredible success. Aladdin and Lion King each surpassed $1 billion in global earnings over the summer, and even Dumbo made over $350 million internationally early in the year. The studio still has one more classic tale to tell in live-action this year – a sequel to the 2014 villain origin story, Maleficent. Angelina Jolie’s horns and high cheekbones are returning for Mistress of Evil, but how large of a moviegoing audience is going to do the same?
With just a few weeks to go before Maleficent: Mistress of Evil flies into theaters, projections see the Disney sequel making $50 million in its first weekend. If the prophecy is fulfilled, Mistress of Evil could easily win the weekend — however at an over 25% lower debut than the 2014 hit Maleficent started with before making a staggering $758 million worldwide.
The new Maleficient is opening against another sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap. The latter has 10 years of anticipation on its side, and an all-star cast including Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Jesse Eisenberg. The R-rated zombie flick isn’t competing for the same audience as Maleficent, and is expected to have an opening weekend between $23 to $25 million, per Variety.
Zombieland: Double Tap’s projections aligns closer to that of the 2009 original, which made $24 million in its first weekend before going on to make $102 million globally. The weekend of October 18th will also see the release of indie/award buzz releases Jojo Rabbit and The Lighthouse. Gemini Man and The Addams Family will be in their second weekends at that point. Not to mention, potential blockbuster wildcard, Joker will be doing its third lap.
If Maleficent opens at $50 million, it will be among the lower half of Disney live-action reimaginings, in between 2015’s Cinderella and the disappointing aforementioned Dumbo. Cinderella opened at $67 million in the spring season and ended its box office run at $543 million worldwide. Dumbo performed under expectations with a $45 million opening before finishing at an adorable $353 million.
Going by this pattern, the Angelina Jolie-led fantasy film could wind up making somewhere around $400 million in potential total earnings. In comparison to how high Aladdin and Lion King soared earlier this year, it may look disappointing. Thankfully, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is tracking higher than the studio’s last live-action sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, which opened at $26 million following Alice in Wonderland’s massive $116 million debut six years earlier.
Mistress of Evil comes five years after the first Maleficent movie, and had a big part in starting the currently Disney live-action retelling wave. The sequel will follow the classic Disney villain and Elle Fanning’s Aurora as she plans to get married to Prince Phillip. Maleficent and Aurora’s soon-to-be mother-in-law Queen Ingrith (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) come in conflict, which places the unlikely mother-daughter relationship in question.
See Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in theaters on October 18th.