June 23, 2014
Angelina Jolie's Female-Centric 'Maleficent' Her Most Successful Film To Date

Angelina Jolie might not often gush about commercial success, but she might be quietly celebrating this weekend. Her latest release, Maleficent, surpassed the $500 million mark at the box office over the weekend. Not taking inflation into account, it is Jolie's highest-grossing film to date.

Her previous box-office topper was Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the 2005 flick that co-starred her current partner Brad Pitt. That film made $478.2 million.

Disney must be breathing a sigh of relief as well -- those large numbers were needed for the movie to turn a profit. Variety reports Maleficent had a budget of $175 million. It nearly broke even after its May 30 opening weekend, posting a box office total of $170.6 million worldwide.

In addition to starring in the film, Jolie is an executive producer. The Hollywood Reporter called it a "passion project" for the actress, known as much for her global humanitarian efforts as her film career. Earlier this month, she received an honorary damehood for her work to end war zone sexual violence. Jolie said of the designation:

"To receive an honour related to foreign policy means a great deal to me, as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to. Working on the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime, and I am dedicated to it for all of mine."

Variety notes Maleficent is the latest Disney film to bring a modern take on classic characters and fairy tales. Movies such as Frozen and Brave have decidedly feminist turns and are box office powerhouses. As Variety critic Justin Chang puts it:

"Gone are the male heroics (or, for that matter, interesting male characters of any kind), and gone are the traditional happily-ever-after paradigms: In a picture that redefines the meaning of true love's kiss, it is Maleficent, not the useless Prince Phillip, who rides to the princess' rescue -- and she doesn't ride sidesaddle."

Despite this assessment, Disney was emphasizing the potential for Maleficent to gain a wide audience upon the film's release. Studio executive Dave Hollis told Variety:

"[T]here's a universalism in the story. Yes, it's Angelina Jolie, but she's also one of the few worldwide movie stars alive in the universe. It's more about it being Angelina as opposed to it having a female lead."

The breakdown of Maleficent's impressive take for its four weeks of release include a domestic gross of $186 million. The film's top non-U.S. markets so far are Mexico ($40.4 million) and Russia ($34.8 million). In total, the film has earned $335.6 million internationally and $521.6 million worldwide. Angelina Jolie's "passion project" opens in Japan on July 4.

[Image: Google]