Film Threat archive logo


By Mark Bell | June 3, 2014

Welcome to Going Bionic, #217. Before we jump into today’s topic, I’d just like to say, “wahoo!” The Los Angeles Kings are headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years, after becoming the first team in NHL history to win three consecutive game sevens on “away ice” during the playoffs. After my beloved Lakers suffered their second-worst season in franchise history, and the Clippers endured their painstakingly horrific Donald Sterling racism fiasco, it’s nice to have at least one of my teams playing for a championship.

Today we’re paying homage to Maleficent, the $180 million dollar budgeted Angelina Jolie starrer that became the Queen Bee at the box office over the weekend. Not only did the picture more than double the box office of X Men: Days of Future Past (which was in its second weekend), but it carved a few new rules into the tree of distribution knowledge. So, without further ado, lets discuss three reasons why Maleficent will be remembered for more than just its recent box office success.

Reinforcing the Power of Female Driven Films
Following in the footsteps of Disney’s Frozen (2013), which earned $67,391,326 on 3,741 screens in its first weekend, Maleficent earned $69,431,298 on 3,498 screens. Although Maleficent’s per screen average of $17,586 was a touch under Frozen’s $18,009, the picture’s success solidified the power of female audiences. For example, 60% of all ticket sales for Maleficent were from women, even through the film was pelted with a 52% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, its “A” rating on CinemaScore certainly helped its cause.

 International Success Shatters the Glass Ceiling for Women Actors
Maleficent opened in 46 countries across the world, earning $100,000,600 internationally. Adding the international box office gives the film a total of $170, 031,298 worldwide. These numbers defy the age-old international distribution belief that films with a women lead usually don’t preform well overseas.

Maleficent also became Angelina Jolie’s highest-grossing film on opening weekend, beating out Kung Fu Panda (2008), which earned $60,239,130 on 4,114 screens. With female audiences flexing their box office muscles, we can all rest assured studios will bring us more films tailored to female audiences.

Maleficent’s “Legs” Should Outlast X-Men’s Muscle
While X-Men: Days of Future Past earned $90,823,600 on 3,996 screens on its opening weekend (an astonishing $22,729 per screen average), the picture made 64.2% less at the box office in its second weekend, earning $32,551,098 on 4,001 screens.

Most X-Men films make a killing on opening weekend and then go on to lose 65%-70% of their box office grip during weekend #2. So, it goes to reason that those who want to see X-Men films usually do so during opening weekend. In other words, X-Men films aren’t known for having long lasting “legs,” which carry the film at the box office from week after week.

Conversely, 45% of the Maleficent audiences were families, and families tend to a) spread strong word-of-mouth and b) become repeat customers, for films they love. Thus, don’t be surprised of Maleficent surpasses X-Men: Days of Future Past at the box office this summer. After all, having great “legs” at the box office is usually always more powerful than having strong muscles on opening weekend.

All right filmmakers, it’s time to put today’s edition of Going Bionic to bed. I’d like to thank you again for lending me your eyes, and I’d be honored to borrow them again next Tuesday. Until then, I hope you have an amazing week! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon