Maleficent Manages the Win

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maleficent movie monday

It was a dandy weekend for the bad guys.

Well, not bad bad guys, necessarily. Many of these black hats hide hearts of gold. Take the star of this weekend’s box-office champion, Maleficent. The old Sleeping Beauty villain turned an ethical corner with 2014’s Maleficent, wherein she turned nice and the movie itself turned a tidy profit. (The original earned $241.4 million domestically.)

But the name of this year’s sequel—Maleficent: Mistress of Evil—reminds us that old habits die hard. The movie’s performance also suggested that it’s hard to draw people in for a sequel sometimes: Sure, Mistress of Evil did finish No. 1, but it earned just an estimated $36 million in North America, falling well short of Disney’s own estimates (according to Box Office Mojo). Given that the original Maleficent debuted with nearly twice that take ($69.4 million), the sequel feels a bit sleepy by comparison.

Still, $36 mil was enough to knock Joker, the two-time defending champ, off its box-office perch. Of all the bad ‘uns in this week’s countdown, no one is arguably badder than Joaquin Phoenix’s Clown Prince of Crime—or being so good at being bad. While Joker’s weekend haul dipped to $29.2 million, those grosses pushed the film’s overall North American earnings to $247.2 million. That makes Joker the year’s seventh-biggest movie, behind sixth-place Aladdin’s $355.6 million.

Oh, and while we’re looking at year-to-date revenues, Joker becomes technically the fourth superhero movie to crack the year’s top 10, joining Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame (No. 1, $858.4 million) Captain Marvel (No. 4, $426.8 million) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (No. 5, $390.5 million). ‘Course, even though Joker made his name fighting Batman through the decades, you’d have to squint really, really hard to see much superhero DNA here.

Zombieland 2: Double Tap brought its own nefarious villains—the titular zombies—to the box-office party this weekend. The festering flick earned $26.7 million in its debut weekend to finish third.

Speaking of Fester, The Addams Family is still a thing at the box-office. The animated film continues to put the gross in grosses, collecting another spooky $16.1 million and drawing in audiences from here until Wednesday. The flick has snapped up $56.8 million in North America, all told.

Gemini Man, the tender story of an ethical assassin fighting off his much younger clone, closed out the weekend’s top five, banking just $8.5 million. There was a time when just one Will Smith could earn that sort of money just by clipping his toenails. This weekend though, though, was apparently not enough to be just an old Bad Boy. You need to be bad to the bone.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 9 days ago
The Lion King was not like National Geographic at all. People are just making assumptions instead of actually seeing the films.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I love the originals for the most part, but appreciate seeing them in a different light, and that's what these remakes do. Gives the fans of the originals a way to appreciate them in a different way. What's wrong with that? It's not like the originals are going away, and like I said a lot of times the extra attention to detail these remakes bring out makes them arguably better than the originals anyway. Seeing your favorite animated classics in a new and different way is not in any way a bad thing at all. It's just like seeing your favorite book characters brought to life on the big screen, and everyone knows book adaptations have been around much longer than animated classics being remade as live-action films.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I wish everybody would stop bashing Disney around here. They make arguably the greatest animated films of all-time and the live-action remakes of them are not the same but worse as some people claim. Sure The Jungle Book remake wasn't as good, and frankly nothing can save the original ho-hum story of Cinderella, but the original Maleficent was a highly creative re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story, the Beauty and the Beast remake added extra storylines about Belle's mother and the beast as a little kid, and added a ton of new songs as well that arguably made the movie even better than the original classic. Plus of course this year's Dumbo wasn't anything like the original, but was still pretty good for what it was. And like I've said before the slight additions to the Aladdin remake this year (making the Genie get married and have kids, the Bollywood like dance scenes, and the additional song by Jasmine) also arguably made the remake better than the original. And as for the Lion King all I can say is that the remake may have been closer to a shot for shot redo of the original, but the added level of detail that made everything look a hundred times better than before definitely made it an awesome movie experience. Basically Disney's remakes are as good and many times better than their original animated counterparts, so please stop bashing them, here and elsewhere.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I just wish Disney wasn’t so reliant on what worked for them in the past and instead try something new. At the very least they should use the remakes to tell the story from a different perspective (a lot of people I know say the Aladdin remake would have been better if it had made Jasmine the main character, for example).

If they’re going to remake their movies, they should at least make them more like Cinderella and less like The Lion King. Cinderella from what I’ve heard added a more interesting angle to the story by including the character’s mom, while the Lion King ended up being more like a National Geographic film.

I also feel like Disney having such a chokehold on Hollywood isn’t healthy for cinema or entertainment. It leaves less room for other companies to experiment and do something different. When Disney is hogging the spotlight, they are the only ones to benefit. Sure, other studios do need to make quality films to compete, but with Disney raking in so much dough by playing it safe, others studios will follow suite, and it leads to less risk taking movies.

Disney has definitely made some good movies, and they still make some good movies, but I feel like they’ve gotten so big that they just play so safe that they’re too afraid of taking a risk at the expense of losing money.
Anonymous 9 days ago
In my opinion Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King did add in new stuff. Beauty had extra songs and extra storylines about Belle's mother and the beasts childhood. Aladdin had an extra song, a Bollywood like dance party, and had the genie get married and have kids. And even The Lion King had some subtle differences in the songs, and of course everything looked less cartoony and much more real and lifelike in the new version as well. And of course Dumbo was a completely different storyline than the original. I frankly couldn't stand the remake of Cinderella, thought it changed too much around with them knowing each other beforehand, and frankly if I had to choose between seeing it or the original, I choose the original everytime. Cinderella's the prime example of what Disney shouldn't do when creating live action remakes of their classic animated films.
Kal El 30 days ago
Wow, you think these remakes are often better than the originals? Agree to disagree.
charitysplace 3 months ago
I saw the Maleficent sequel; I wish it had done better since it was an original story and not a remake or a knockoff. It was both moving and sad. I loved it and look forward to owning it!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Disney: (releases a movie that disappoints at the box office)
Me: This does put a smile on my face.
Big Mike 3 months ago
Disney: (releases a movie that disappoints at the box office)
Me: This puts does put a smile on my face (because i remember that they've released like a thousand really good films)
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I would be able to appreciate the quality of Disney’s movies more if they weren’t so greedy.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Also, this puts does put a smile on my face? That’s an odd choice of words to put together.
Big Mike 3 months ago
oh no! a company wants more money unlike all the other company's which make films out of the kindness of their hearts!
Welcome to the free markets bruh.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

At least other studios make movies that are at least a little original and are actually well made. Disney just makes the same franchise flick over and over. 

They make mountains of money every year without putting in any of the work to deserve it (except with the MCU, where they had patience and are now reaping the profits long term). Instead of making something new that audiences will enjoy, Disney just takes what people loved in the past and just throws it in the microwave. It’s incredibly lazy, and in my opinion, people who are lazy don’t deserve that much money on their hands.
Isaiah Thacker 3 months ago
@FCG

I highly doubt it has anything to do with laziness. Disney makes the movies they do because they think they'll be highly profitable - a strategy which is clearly working for them on the whole. People shell out millions of dollars to see these films: Disney is just catering to that market. Considering the people making decisions at Disney have not only their own families and bank accounts to worry about, but those of Disney's 200K+ employees, I can't say I can entirely blame them.

Mind you, I'm not particularly fond of today's Disney Company. In fact, I believe the majority of American cinema, not just Disney, has a tragic tendency to devalue creativity and artistic integrity in favor of whatever the numbers say will maximize profit. I'm just saying the problem lies at least as much with the people eagerly watching crummy movies as it does with the people making said movies. We, the audience, could force Disney et al. to step up their game by refusing to pay to see tripe. Instead, we monetarily encourage them to make more of it.

Just my two cents.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

That’s another thing that bothers me, Isaiah: the people who pay to watch these types of films. It frustrates me that people continue to see these films despite the fact that they’re just the same as the originals, but worse.

Why not just watch the originals instead? Audiences would get a better experience, and a cheaper one too! The blu ray for Lion King will cost a family at most $25, whereas a trip to the theater will cost that same family at least $40 (and that’s without snacks)!