Maleficent casts 70 million spell, A million ways to die flops;DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk moves to Netflix; Vortexx Saturday morning programming to end this fall



The evil villainess tells her backstory! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Maleficent, the villain of Sleeping Beauty, managed to cast a spell on the box office with 70 million as Seth Mc Farlane’s A Million Ways To Die and X-Men: Days of Future Past fall victim to her evil spell! This film matches up Disney’s animated feature and blends in with Maleficent as the Disney villain we know today. How did this villainess do it Gene?




Disney’s Maleficent was off to a strong start this weekend with a first place estimated debut of $70.0 million. The 3D fantasy film starring Angelina Jolie opened on the very high end of its lofty pre-release expectations. A strong marketing campaign, the film arriving after the massive box office success of last year’s Frozen and Jolie’s awaited return to the big screen all helped out Maleficent this weekend. The film may have also received a bit of a boost this weekend from moviegoers wanting to catch the film before Fox’s The Fault in Our Stars arrives in the marketplace next weekend. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Maleficent represented the largest opening weekend performance ever for Jolie (her previous best in a live action role was the $50.93 million start of 2008’s Wanted). Maleficent opened 24.5 percent stronger than the $56.22 million start of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman (which didn’t have the advantage of higher priced 3D admissions).

Maleficent opened with $24.25 million on Friday, which included an estimated $4.2 million from Thursday evening shows. The film increased 6 percent on Saturday to gross $25.64 million and is estimated to decline 22 percent on Sunday to take in $20.11 million. That gives Maleficent an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.89 to 1, which indicates that the film has a major family component to its audience, but also isn’t playing entirely like a family film. According to Disney, family audiences represented 45 percent of the film’s total audience, while couples represented 38 percent. The audience breakdown for Maleficent skewed towards female moviegoers (60 percent) and slightly towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (51 percent). Maleficent received a strong A rating on Cinema Score. That is a good early sign for the film going forward, though it will face tough direct competition in the weeks ahead from both The Fault in Our Stars and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Maleficent grossed an estimated $6.7 million from IMAX locations, which represented 9.6 percent of this weekend’s overall gross. 3D grosses from all formats were responsible for 35 percent of this weekend’s overall gross.

X-Men: Days of Future Past was down one spot and a sharp 64 percent from last weekend’s three-day frame to place in second with an estimated $32.6 million. Despite largely positive reactions from moviegoers and critics alike, Fox’s 3D superhero sequel still fell off significantly this weekend due in part to the front-loaded nature of the X-Men franchise in general. The overall appeal of Maleficent also didn’t help matters for Days of Future Past this weekend. With that said, X-Men: Days of Future Past is still performing towards the lower end of its massive expectations with a ten-day start of $162.07 million. That places the film 65 percent ahead of the $98.02 million ten-day take of 2011’s X-Men: First Class (which fell 56 percent in its second weekend to gross $24.13 million) and 8 percent behind the $175.35 million ten-day gross of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand (which fell 67 percent in its second weekend to gross $34.02 million). With this weekend’s decline out of the way, Days of Future Past will hope to stabilize going forward.

Universal’s A Million Ways to Die in the West debuted in third place with a soft estimated start of $17.07 million. The western comedy directed by and starring Seth MacFarlane debuted significantly below pre-release expectations. Much like Blended last weekend, A Million Ways to Die in the West appears to have been hurt by audiences having been already satisfied recently by Neighbors and by largely negative critical reviews. While it was never expected to perform anywhere near as strong as 2012’s Ted, the degree of the film’s box office drop-off from Ted (which debuted with $54.42 million), obviously isn’t good news for MacFarlane. As showcased by The Lone Ranger last year, westerns with comedic elements are currently a tough sell at the box office. Fortunately for A Million Ways to Die in the West, the film was produced for a fraction of a cost of The Lone Ranger.

A Million Ways to Die in the West opened with $6.1 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.89 million from late night Thursday shows), increased a slim 3 percent on Saturday to take in $6.3 million and is estimated to decline 26 percent on Sunday to gross $4.67 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.80 to 1. The audience breakdown for A Million Ways to Die in the West skewed towards male moviegoers (55 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (72 percent). The film received a so-so B rating on Cinema Score and is likely to be at least fairly front-loaded going forward due to the initial rush out of MacFarlane’s fans.

Godzilla continued to fall off quickly this weekend as it was down two spots and 60 percent from last weekend to fall to fourth with an estimated $12.23 million. In addition to being hurt by mixed word of mouth, the 3D sci-fi action remake also took a hit from losing IMAX showings to Maleficent this weekend. After greatly exceeding expectations on opening weekend, due to poor holding power Godzilla is now running towards the lower end of expectations with a 17-day take of $174.66 million. Godzilla is currently running 8 percent behind the $190.20 million 17-day take of 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and will need to start stabilizing soon if it is to reach the $200 million domestic milestone.

Thanks in part to the lackluster start of A Million Ways to Die in the West, fellow comedies and Warner’s Blended and Universal’s Neighbors both held up better than expected this weekend with respective fifth and sixth place estimated takes of $8.43 million and $7.7 million.  Blended was down 41 percent (which represented a very respectable second weekend hold for a Memorial Day weekend release), while Neighbors fell 45 percent. Respective total grosses stand at a strong $128.59 million for Neighbors through 24 days and at a disappointing $29.63 million for Blended after ten days. Both films will hope to hold up well next weekend, before they face new direct competition from 22 Jump Street when it enters the marketplace on June 13.


To recap, Maleficent whom the villainess casts 1st, puts Million Ways To Die and X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2nd and 3rd out of harms way as was Godzilla 2014 in 4th, but Blended in 5th survives her evil wrath as it holds up triumphantly along with Neighbors.


With DreamWorks Dragons 2 coming to the box office next week, Team Hiccup will have to work very hard if they manage to slay off Peabody and Sherman and Turbo. This week, Netflix who recently added Turbo: FAST, Puss in Boots, and King Julien, have added them to the block. Many Dragons fans will be exited won’t they Dan?


Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- DreamWorks Dragons, based on the 2010 film How to Train Your Dragon, will move to Netflix for its third season in 2015.

The half-hour series has aired on Cartoon Network for its first two seasons of 40 episodes, which bowed in August 2012. The second season wrapped in March and the show hasn’t been seen on the network since.

Unlike other DreamWorks movies turned into television series – The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs. Aliens (all on Nickelodeon) – the network had little control and didn’t make the series in-house.

DreamWorks is now exclusively releasing series through Netflix. Turbo FAST premiered late last year and new Puss in Boots and King Julien series are in development.



Back in 2012, Vortexx was warned that they might be next on the chopping block since the big 4 networks CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox surrendered to Nick, Nicktoons, The Hub Network, and Disney Junior by moving their Saturday morning shows mostly due to high ratings. Have the big 4 basic networks achieved victory Dan, if it’s true, when we’ll we see the last Vortexx block?


Dan Barry (via Nick and More) (continued)- Our friends (and web hosts) over at toonzone have discovered that a new five-hour E/I programming block is headed for The CW this fall – meaning that Saban Brands’ Vortexx block is over.

Launched in August 2012, the almost two-year old block has remained largely unchanged for the last year, with only the addition of Digimon Fusion repeats.

Right now, it is unclear what will happen to the other Vortexx programs. Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the only show currently airing actual premiere episodes on the block, does repeat on Nicktoons.

As the article notes, this will bring an end to traditional Saturday morning broadcast programming for kids. Broadcasters ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and now The CW are all showcasing E/I (educational and informational) programming to meet the FCC requirements. NBC’s programming does include repeats from the Sprout television network, but it is targeted towards preschoolers.

As we mentioned back in 2012, Vortexx faced a tough uphill battle. It would seem they gave up.



Checking the Penguins tally, 2,125 sign in as basic cable’s mission to end Saturday morning shows will pay off this fall. And that goes well for Team Skipper.



Summer sweeps continue this week as the Watterson’s return after a long break of disasters! Have they redeem themselves after being run out of Elmore? More secrets will be revealed on Season 3 of Gumball! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, be on the lookout for troubling secrets!

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