Will 'Maleficent' be magnificent?

Posted May 29, 2014 by Tim O'Brien
UPDATE: "Maleficent" is becoming magnificent at the box office as it pulled in an estimated $24.2 million Friday. The projections are now running in the range of a $65-70 million opening weekend. Mainly on the strength of Angelina Jolie.
Angelina Jolie is wild and wicked.
Angelina Jolie is wild and wicked.
Box Office Mojo
UPDATE: "Maleficent" had a nice early start on Thursday as it took in $4.2 million. Of course, this was not going to be in the ballpark of the early showings of a superhero film, but this is surely a strong start for the Disney film.
EARLIER: Get the cheese out of the way right now with the idea that many will hope for a magnificent weekend for "Maleficent." But will it scare off too many youngsters on that quest?
Meanwhile, there is also a strong "X-Men" out there and that film will be hard to knock down in its second weekend. It could take a drop the size of "Godzilla" to do that (67 percent). A drop will happen, but how big remains to be seen.
But, many eyes will be focused on "Maleficent," a sleeping beauty tale which has a wicked Angelina Jolie in the lead. The story focuses on the untold story of the tale, of sorts. A tale of good and evil among the same person as Jolie shines and steals the show. But the dark elements may keep some of the younger kids away. Not by their own choosing, but it may be the choice of the parents. It is rated only PG and really should not be a problem, however. Aside from Jolie as the main character, Elle Fanning stars as Princess Aurora and Sharlto Copley as Stefan.
A tale of finding true love is the underlying message of this fairy tale - and many others as well. Mixed early reviews make sense, too. One can like Jolie but not the film. It also means "X-Men" should be safe. The comparison to another Disney film will not be made in this report. It will not try to forecast whether "Frozen" fans will like or dislike this. Why? "Frozen" was animated and this is not. It is that simple.
1. "Maleficent" - 3,800+ theaters
2. "A Million Ways to Die In the West" - 3,000+ theaters
3. "Night Move" - 2 theaters
4. "The Hornet's Nest" - Limited
5. "Filth" - Limited
Seth MacFarlane had a hit movie with "Ted," and that may help his next venture, "A Million Ways to Die in the West." MacFarlane stars, too. He is also the film's director, producer and co-wrote it. It may not be another "Ted," but for fans of that and "Family Guy," there will be an audience. How large is still up for debate.
Many will go in hating it and that makes it a tough sell. It boast a star-studded cast in Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman and Neil Patrick Harris. The plot doesn't matter. If one laughs, that is the key. With a bad drama, many can muddle through it, but for comedy, that is harder. Chances are if one does like crude humor, this is not the film to see.
Two other smaller releases get the per screen average treatment in "Filth" and "Night Moves." Another Fanning stars in "Night Moves" in Dakota. It also stars Jesse Eisenberg in a film about domestic terrorism. "Filth" is a political yarn starring James McAvoy.
One more of note is "The Hornet's Nest." It uses real war footage an weaves and attempts to immerse the audience in the story. The documentary features Mike and Carlos Boettcher.