May 30, 2014

THURSDAY NIGHT BOX OFFICE: “Maleficent” Spreads Its Wings, “Million Ways” Dies


MALEFICENT (Disney) made it clear very quickly that it’s not going to play strictly as a family movie, earning a strong $4.2M in Thursday night screenings that began at 7PM.  That’s better than the Thursday night business for Alice in Wonderland ($3.9M) and Oz: The Great and Powerful ($2M), and more than half the $8.1M that X-Men: Days of Future Past brought in last Thursday, probably reflecting the wide appeal of Angelina Jolie in the iconic lead role.  Reviews have been less kind (49% on Rotten Tomatoes), so business with adults may be front-loaded, but that should be balanced out by strong Saturday matinee sales.  In addition, Maleficent is off to a galloping start overseas, with $20.1M on Wednesday/Thursday in 35 markets.

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (Universal), however, is looking dismal after $891K from Thursday screenings that started at 8PM.  Million Ways, with its presumed 18-34 audience of Seth MacFarlane fans, should have had a strong Thursday (Neighbors, just a few weeks ago, made $2.6M on its Thursday night, the same amount as MacFarlane’s Ted pulled in merely from midnight screenings), and the fact that hardly anyone showed up bodes badly for the weekend.  Word of mouth is unlikely to be helpful, considering the movie’s current 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."