Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

June 3, 2014

I love you despite the bald spot.

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Kim Hollis: Maleficent, the Disney film from the villain's point of view, debuted with $69.4 million. What do you think of this result?

Edwin Davies: This is better than I was expecting; I thought a performance in line with that of Snow White and the Huntsman ($56.2 million) was the most likely result, since both are visually striking retellings of classic stories. That Maleficent did considerably better says a lot about the strength of the Disney marketing machine, as well as the benefit of tying the film so directly to one of Disney's classics. It already had a pre-existing mythology and iconography to draw upon, something which was hinted at by the use of "Once Upon a Dream" in many of the ads, and it promised to show that familiar story in a new light, which is the sort of thing that can be really appealing when done well. It also helped that it directly targeted a female audience at a time when most new releases are aimed squarely at teenaged boys; the only other film in the Top 10 that could fit that description is The Other Woman, which is now six weekends old and isn't as family-oriented as Maleficent. So the film hit its target demographic hard at a time when it was being underserved.

Jason Barney: This is a very strong opening weekend and there are a couple of factors leading up to it. The film does not appear to stand out, but it was released at a time when the box office is red hot. This is four out of five weekends where the #1 film has opened at near-7$0 million or more, so Disney lucked out with respect to the schedule. When things cool off is anybody's guess.

It should do fine from here, as this was above most predictions. The international numbers are already strong, and the domestic box office is solid. This is a definite win for everyone involved, especially Jolie. It proves that she is still a draw, and when the role is just entertaining enough, people will spend their hard earned cash to see her perform. Taking on this type of role was a very good choice.


Reagen Sulewski: One sort of gets the feeling Disney saw other studios trying these live action princess movies and decided to step in like someone protecting their territory - "no, no, this is *our* thing, and we're gonna show you how it's done." And then followed through, of course, even if the film looks more like a testament to set design than anything else. I also think that this built off Enchanted much in the same way that Frozen built off Tangled - you prove the concept, then put out a quasi-sequel. I wonder if studios won't angle towards more of this rather than exhausting their franchises with endless sequels that fizzle out spectacularly.

Max Braden: This is a nice and strong opening. Throughout the run-up to the movie, I kept comparing it to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which opened to $116 million four years ago. Now that's a huge number and I never expected Maleficent to open over 100, but the strong visual and fantasy elements of the movie seemed to me to appeal to the same young teen audience, as well as older audiences who have memories of the original animated Sleeping Beauty. The main role was the most obvious casting for Angelina Jolie since Tomb Raider, and I think that was at least half the draw for audiences who went to see it. This could have been a $40 million opening in other circumstances, so $70 million is a great result.

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