In 2014, Disney came up with a fairly novel idea of centering blockbuster family film on a female villain played by Angelina Jolie. It was a huge hit, opening with almost $70 million on its way to a $241 million domestic haul and over $750 million worldwide. That movie opened right after Memorial Day in the heat of the summer when all the kids were out of school.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil was originally scheduled to roll out on the same weekend in 2020, but Disney moved it ahead seven months into the Halloween movie window but during a time in which most kids were in school. The results weren’t exactly disastrous, but they weren’t great for the second Maleficent movie, either. It opened to the tune of $37.7 million, which would be a great opening for most family film sequels. But this is Disney, and Maleficent 2 cost $185 million to produce, a figure that the film is unlikely to surpass domestically.
It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong with Mistress of Evil. An October release may not have helped matters. Reviews certainly didn’t (40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but reviews weren’t great for the original, either (53 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Audiences who did turn out to see both movies loved them (they both received an A Cinemascore), and the RT audiences score for this one was significantly better than the original (96 percent to 70 percent for the first one). I think it is purely a matter of release date, and to Disney’s credit, they probably also realized that Mistress of Evil will be the only game in town for family movies until another Disney movie comes out over Thanksgiving, Frozen 2, and this also allowed the Mouse House to stick Artemis Fowl in the old Maleficent 2 release date. Poor Disney: Too many blockbusters, and not enough release dates to avoid cannibalizing themselves.
Meanwhile, Joker continues to put up healthy numbers in its third weekend, earning $28.3 million, as it approaches $250 million domestic ($246 million, to be exact). The worldwide numbers now are eye-popping for a movie that only cost $55 million to produce.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap opened with good but not great numbers, earning $26.5 million, slightly better than expectations. It’s been ten years since the original opened, and the sequel not only had a tough act to follow but a decade of expectations with which to contend. It was alright, as reflected in the 67 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and the B+ from Cinemascore. I love zombie movies, Zombieland is my second favorite zombie movie ever (behind Shaun of the Dead) and I thought Double Tapped was a little disappointing, to be honest. I had hoped for more from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the screenwriters not only for the original Zombieland, but the two Deadpool movies.
The remaining entries in the top ten were all holdovers. Addams Family had a surprisingly decent 53 percent hold despite the arrival of Maleficent, earning another $14.2 million to bring its total to $55 million. Gemini Man, on the other hand, dropped 62 percent, earning only $7.8 million to bring its ten-day total to only $35 million (it cost nearly $150 million to make).
The numbers get much smaller beyond that. Abominable earned $3.37 million, good enough for sixth place. It’s earned $54 million, which is decent. It has also earned $115 million worldwide on a $75 million budget and should do well on digital platforms over the holidays. Downton Abbey scored $2.9 million to bring its total to $88.4 million as it makes a long-shot push toward $100 million.
Hustlers, meanwhile, did cross the $100 million mark this weekend, which is a big deal for a film that only cost $20 million for STX Films to produce (it’s earned $125 million worldwide). It is also worth noting that Lorene Scafaria becomes the second female director this year to have movie earn $100 million (behind only Anna Boden, who co-directed Captain Marvel).