Box Office: 'Maleficent 2' Heads for Muted $38M U.S. Debut After $12.5M Friday

Courtesy of Disney
'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil'

Elsewhere, 'Zombieland 2: Double Tap' is on course for a pleasing $26 million-plus domestic start, while 'Hustlers' crossed the $100 million mark in a big win for STX.

Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent: Mistress of Evil earned $12.5 million on Friday from 3,790 theaters, putting it on a course for a disappointing domestic start of $38 million.

While the live-acton Disney pic will still win the weekend, it had been expected to gross $45 million to $50 million. The follow-up opens five years after Maleficent, inspired by the villainous sorceress in Sleeping Beauty, started off with $69.4 million in North America on its way to earning $758 million globally.

Maleficent 2 — which could easily make up ground overseas — was originally set to bow in May 2020, but Disney moved up the release to this year's Halloween corridor. While critics haven't embraced the big-budget sequel, it drew an A CinemaScore from audiences.

Todd Phillips and Warner Bros.' Joker will come in second in its third weekend with as much as $28 million as it approaches $250 million in the U.S. and $700 million globally.

Sony's early Halloween offering Zombieland 2: Double Tap debuted to a pleasing $10.5 million on Friday in 3,468 theaters for a projected launch of $26 million to $27 million, slightly ahead of the 2009 film ($24.7 million), not adjusted for inflation.

The film sees the return of Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson alongside newcomer Zoey Deutch in director Ruben Fleischer's decade-later sequel.

Elsewhere, filmmaker Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers is making more headlines after dancing past the $100 million mark at the domestic box office on Friday. The crime drama, a big win for STXfilms, stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Julia Styles and Keke Palmer.

At the awards box office, new offerings include filmmaker Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit, an irreverent comedy about a German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler (Waititi). The Fox Searchlight picture, which stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Thomasin McKenzie, is on pace to post a location average of $55,800 from five theaters.

Other new specialty offerings include The Lighthouse. The A24 chiller from filmmaker Robert Eggers (The Witch) stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as 1890s Maine lighthouse keepers locked in a battle of wills as a storm rages inside and out. The film, which opened in eight cinemas, looks likely to post a location average of $45,500 or better.