Box Office Preview: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' to Cast Winning Spell With $45M-Plus

Walt Disney Studios
'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil'

'Zombieland: 2: Double Tap' also opens nationwide, while new offerings at the awards box office include 'Jojo Rabbit.'

Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent: Mistress of Evil should have no trouble casting a winning spell at the weekend box office, toppling early October blockbuster Joker from the top spot.

The live-action Disney pic, rated PG, is on course to earn $45 million to $50 million in its domestic debut, and north of $140 million globally. The follow-up opens five years after Maleficent — inspired by the villainous sorceress in Sleeping Beauty — launched with $69.4 million in North America on its way to earning $758 million globally.

Maleficent 2 was originally set to open in May 2020, but Disney moved the release closer to the Halloween 2019 corridor.

Directed by Joachim Ronning from a script by Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, the sequel follows Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) as they question the ties that bind them together on the eve of the latter's nuptials.

Todd Phillips and Warner Bros.' Joker, a water-cooler sensation, could earn more than $25 million in its third weekend, putting it in a close race for No. 2 with new entry Zombieland 2: Double Tap, from Sony. (Through Sunday, Joker's gross will be north of $700 million worldwide, putting it on course to become the top-grossing R-rated title of all time, not adjusted for inflation.)

And thanks to The Addams Family, which debuted last weekend to a better-than-expected $30.3 million, Maleficent 2 and Zombieland 2, the Halloween box office is underway in earnest ahead of the actual holiday.

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

New entries at the awards box office 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 also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Thomasin McKenzie.

Other new specialty offerings include The Lighthouse. From filmmaker Robert Eggers (The Witch), the A24 chiller stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as 1890s Maine lighthouse keepers locked in a battle of wills as a storm rages inside and out.