‘Maleficent’ tops box office

June 2, 2014 3:32 AM

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The biggest box-office debut of Angelina Jolie’s career propelled Disney’s fairy tale ‘‘Maleficent’’ to a $70 million opening. The PG-rated fantasy beat forecasts to easily top all other films over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Though ‘‘Maleficent’’ was considered a risky endeavor for Disney that might turn away family audiences by retelling ‘‘Sleeping Beauty’’ from the villain’s perspective, the film emerged as a hit largely because of the draw of Jolie (inset). In her first live-action starring role in years, Jolie drove interest for ‘‘Maleficent’’ despite lackluster reviews from critics. ‘‘It’s a unique thing,’’ said Dave Hollis, head of distribution for Disney. ‘‘Her star power transcends borders and genre.’’ Seth MacFarlane’s western comedy ‘‘A Million Ways to Die in the West,’’ an R-rated Universal release, opened in third place with $17.1 million despite a starry cast of Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, and Amanda Seyfried. By contrast, MacFarlane’s ‘‘Ted’’ (for which he’s making a sequel) opened with $54.4 million in 2012. Last weekend’s top film, Fox’s big-budget mutant sequel ‘‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’’ dropped to second with $32.6 million. (AP)

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