The summer movie season rolls on with two major releases this coming weekend, Maleficent and A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Maleficent is Disney’s reimagining of the villain of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty fame, and while the trailers indicate there may be some fantasy violence, it promises to be a film that attracts a wide family audience. The reviews of the movie are somewhat uneven, but mostly positive. Tim Evans at Sky Movies writes, “ … the story speedily soars towards an impressive finale and is sure to enchant a legion of youngsters ready to move on from the original Sleeping Beauty.”
On the other end of the spectrum is the latest from the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane: A Million Ways to Die in the West. USA Today says, “the reliance on raunch seems unnecessary and its gross-out gags off-putting.” Film critic Matt Pais of Red Eye Chicago labels the film this way: “diarrhea-into-a-hat feels like a metaphor for what MacFarlane’s doing with the movie.” Variety writes that it “aims to be a modern-day “Blazing Saddles,” with more raunch, gore.”
So guess which film is predicted to do more business this weekend? Variety predicts a box office gross of about $60 million for Maleficent, and only about $25 million for Million. The Hollywood Reporter agrees, and notes that Million will debut considerably behind Seth MacFarlane’s last big screen release and will likely only finish in 3rd place over the weekend.
We always hear that Hollywood produces raunchy, violent fare because “it’s all about the money.” At the movies this weekend, families will, in all likelihood, put the lie to that. I’ll update this post on Monday after the actual box office numbers are in.
UPDATE: Monday, June 2 – 10:15 AM ET – The box office numbers are in and Maleficent did even better at the box office than expected, Box Office Mojo reports that the film took in better than $70 million. Nearly half of the audience for the film was made up of families. A Million Ways to Die in the West, was a flop and did even more poorly than expected, taking in about $17 million. The report continues:
Months ago, it seemed like A Million Ways to Die in the West could be a solid hit: the redband trailer had plenty of solid jokes that aligned nicely with the movie’s memorable title. In the final run-up to release, though, advertisements became more focused on the Ted brand, and failed to really deliver the kind of laughs that are needed to open an R-rated comedy. MacFarlane’s decision to step in front of the camera almost certainly turned off some prospective moviegoers as well.