Maleficent Tops the Box Office

Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, made a stir at the box office this weekend as the highest grossing film. Raking in over $170 million worldwide, the story takes a new look at the old Sleeping Beauty tale, focusing this time on the strong and complicated female villain.  

The film was written by Linda Woolverton, who has made it her mission to write smart and independent female characters for Disney, according to a Time interview with her. Her past screenwriting work includes Belle, Mulan, and Alice of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland. She noted in the interview that after writing The Little Mermaid, where the protagonist literally gives up her voice for a chance at a guy she barely knows, that Woolverton decided these princesses could no longer be insipid.  

And as shown by the financial success of MaleficentFrozen and The Hunger Games, she was right. Audiences, particularly of families and young girls, continue to embrace strong female heroines. 

“Maleficent is, for me, another step forward,” Woolverton said to Time. “I feel like it’s succeeding and I feel proud of that."

Though the film has received mixed reviews, audiences have given it an A rating in the CinemaScore polls. Disney was happy with the weekend performance as well, telling the New York Times that the $100.6 million in overseas ticket sales was significantly more than what was needed.