Walt Disney Pictures’ fairy tale sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil dethroned Joker from the top of the box office this weekend, but its soft domestic opening weekend of $36 million was down 48% on the $69.4 million debut of its 2014 predecessor.
The film – which sees Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning reprising their roles as the iconic Disney villain and Princess Aurora – did perform better internationally, where it was up 7% on the first film and amassed $117 million for a combined worldwide opening of $153 million.
According to Deadline, Mistress of Evil’s $153 million start is considered “safe” and puts it on track to break even, assuming it shows enough legs in overseas markets to reach the $400 million mark.
However, the sequel is also going to fall short of the first movie’s solid $759 million total, and given its $185 million production budget, the figures are sure to prove disappointing to Disney and will likely spell the end of the Maleficent franchise.
A fantasy adventure that picks up several years after “Maleficent,” in which audiences learned of the events that hardened the heart of Disney’s most notorious villain and drove her to curse a baby Princess Aurora, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” continues to explore the complex relationship between the horned fairy and the soon to be Queen, as they form new alliances and face new adversaries in their struggle to protect the moors and the magical creatures that reside within.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil sees the return of Angelina Jolie as the dark fairy Maleficent, Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, Sam Riley as Diaval, Imelda Staunton as the pixie Knotgrass, Juno Temple as the pixie Thistlewit, and Lesley Manville as the pixie Flittle. New additions include Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express, Ant-Man and the Wasp) as Queen Ingrith, Harris Dickinson (The Darkest Minds, Trust) as Prince Phillip, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange, 12 Years a Slave) as Connal, Robert Lindsay (My Family, Wimbledon) as King John and Ed Skrein (Deadpool, Game of Thrones) as Borra.