(Bloomberg) –Walt Disney Co.’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to a 2014 hit film with Angelina Jolie, opened to tepid weekend sales of $36 million — a miss for Hollywood’s biggest studio.
The picture, based on characters from a fairy tale and a 1959 Disney cartoon, debuted as the top film in North American theaters, researcher Comscore Inc. estimated Sunday. That was enough to topple last week’s leader “Joker” and outdraw the new Sony Corp. feature “Zombieland 2: Double Tap.” But the tally was still well below the $69.4 million the original film brought in exactly five years ago.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” garnered favorable reviews from just 41% of critics at the Rotten Tomatoes website. Analysts expected $40 million to $42 million, while Disney had predicted an opening weekend in the mid-$40 million range.
“Zombieland 2” delivered sales of $26.7 million and opened in third place. Analysts were predicting up to $25.5 million. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, all stars of the original 2009 “Zombieland,” return for the new feature.
Weekend sales for the top 10 films were expected to fall 10% to 15% from a year earlier. But a few movies on the fall schedule could provide a boost to theaters, which have struggled with declining sales. A new “Terminator” movie is scheduled for Nov. 1, and Disney returns with “Frozen 2” later that month.