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'Maleficent' enchants moviegoers, scores $70 million debut

By Kate Stanton   |   June 1, 2014 at 10:08 PM   |   Comments

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LOS ANGELES, June 1 (UPI) -- Angelina Jolie's villainous return to the big screen cast a powerful spell over the weekend box office.

Maleficent, which also starred Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, earned $70 million in its opening weekend, thanks to Jolie's star power and audience familiarity with the Disney classic.

Jolie hasn't appeared in a feature film since 2010's The Tourist, but Walt Disney Studios' credited her with drawing in theatergoers.

"Angelina Jolie is a very big part of the overall equation," Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios' executive vice president of theatrical distribution, told Variety. "As a star, she's a draw that transcends culture and borders and language. There's a universal nature to the intrigue she creates."

The weekend's other big debut, Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways to Die in the West, didn't fare so well. It came in third with a disappointing $17.1 million, despite its star-studded cast.

X-Men: Days of Future Past dropped to second place in its second week with 32.6 million.

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