As of now, Walt Disney’s Maleficent is unofficially on track to open with around $60 million this weekend. At a cost of $175m to produce, the Angelina Jolie vehicle basically has to gross as much as Oz: The Great and Powerful ($493m worldwide) to make a real profit. Although a final gross close to the $396m haul of Snow White and the Huntsman would arguably put on the eventual path to profitability. In a summer dominated (per usual) with male-centric franchise pictures, Maleficent stands out not just as a female-centric entry but as a female centric entry that is just as “big” in terms of budget and box office expectations as the more boy-centric pictures of the summer season.
While Angelina Jolie is among the last old-school movie stars, she hasn’t actually been onscreen in a feature film since The Tourist in December 2010. That artistic misfire, which also starred Johnny Depp, earned just $67 million domestic but a robust $278m worldwide on a $100m budget. That was preceded by her action vehicle Salt, which earned $278m worldwide on a $110m budget. Back in 2008, the R-rated action thriller Wanted scored a strong $341m worldwide on a $50m budget. When Jolie makes an explicitly commercial picture, she is a force to be reckoned with. Since she spends more time directing and/or engaging in her various humanitarian efforts than starring in major features, an out-and-out star vehicle for Ms. Jolie qualifies as an event.
Check out the maleficent trailer here –