Maleficent may be bitter that she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening, but things aren’t so bad for the scorned fairy. Disney’s gothic fantasy brought in an impressive $24.2 million in its first day in theaters (including Thursday’s $4.2 million earnings) — similar to last year’s Oz: The Great and Powerful.
This puts the PG-rated Maleficent on track to surpass expectations and possibly reach $70 million by the time the weekend closes out. It’s playing in 3,948 locations, many of which are the higher-priced 3-D and IMAX screens.
As far as comparisons with other live-action Disney adaptations, Oz opened at $79.1 million in 2013, but that was in March and didn’t carry the tough competition of other summer blockbuster-season fare. It’ll also likely be held up to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland for comparison. That opened at $116.1 million in March of 2010.
Still, Maleficent is on track to be a rousing success, both for Disney and for Angelina Jolie, who will most certainly hit a career high with this opening (2008’s Wanted is her highest to-date with a $50.9 million debut). Plus, the $180 million pic is already boasting an A Cinema Score.
Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West may fall short of its modest opening expectations. Tracking during the week had put the R-rated Western comedy in the low $20 million range, but, with a $6.1 million Friday and a not-promising B Cinema Score, it may open in the teens.
MacFarlane’s first feature, Ted, had a $20 million Friday in late June of 2012 and a $54.4 million weekend, but that starred Mark Wahlberg and also had much better reviews behind it. A Million Ways may be star-studded — with Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Amanda Seyfried, and Sarah Silverman — but critics have not been kind. It’s currently resting at a 34 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (Ted had a 68 percent).
However, EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave the film a B, writing: “I don’t know if A Million Ways to Die in the West will turn any of the MacFarlane haters into fans. But for those of us who have remained on the fence until now, his raunchy, rat-a-tat parody is proof that beneath all of the bratty immaturity lays the head and heart of an outrageous quick-draw satirist.”
Here’s the top five:
1. Maleficent — $24.2 million
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past — $9.4 million (domestic total: $138.87 million)
3. A Million Ways to Die in the West — $6.1 million
4. Godzilla — $3.31 million (domestic total: $165.74 million)
5. Neighbors — $2.4 million (domestic total: $123.29 million)
It is worth noting that Adam Sandler’s Blended was close. With $2.38 million, it could even be considered a tie.
Check back in tomorrow for weekend estimates.