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Box office update: 'Maleficent' casts a $24.2 million spell on Friday

Maleficent may be bitter that she wasn’t invited to Princess Aurora’s christening, but things aren’t so bad for the scorned fairy. Disney’s gothic fantasy brought in an impressive $24.2 million in its first day in theaters (including Thursday’s $4.2 million earnings) — similar to last year’s Oz: The Great and Powerful.

This puts the PG-rated Maleficent on track to surpass expectations and possibly reach $70 million by the time the weekend closes out. It’s playing in 3,948 locations, many of which are the higher-priced 3-D and IMAX screens.

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Box office preview: 'Maleficent' stares down 'A Million Ways to Die in the West'

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Angelina Jolie and her threatening cheekbones face off against Seth MacFarlane and his (somewhat equally threatening) comedy empire this weekend as Disney’s Maleficent debuts against Universal’s A Million Ways to Die in the West.

MacFarlane’s Ted might have been the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, but in this genre duel, much like his character in A Million Ways, MacFarlane will wither in the face of Disney’s scorned and vengeful fairy. That has nothing to do with the lifetime prospects of MacFarlane’s sophomore effort, of course. Comedies tend to open modestly — especially original ones. But we’re just talking opening weekends, and these two mismatched pics had the (mis?)fortune of choosing the same late-spring date.

Here’s how things might play out: READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' electrifies with an $111 million four-day weekend

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The mutants might be fighting for their lives in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but everything is smooth-sailing for the explosive, star-studded saga at the box office.

Professor X (old and young) and his friends helped usher in a mighty $111 million domestically for X-Men’s first four days in theaters. It now ranks fifth among the top Memorial Day weekend openings of all time, behind last year’s Fast & Furious 6 ($117 million) and 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand ($122.9 million). The $200 million pic also opened day and date in most major markets internationally to a cool $171.1 million. Technically the seventh installment in the long-running franchise, this super debut bodes well for X-Men: Apocalypse, set to open on the same spot on the calendar in 2016.

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Box office report: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' still leads Memorial Day movies with $90.7 million

X-Men: Days of Future Past is easily cementing its spot as the top earner this Memorial Day weekend, bringing in $90.7 million by Sunday and proving that nothing kicks off the unofficial start of summer quite like the time-honored tradition of seeing superheroes and villains duke it out for the good of the country.

The time-travel film — directed by Bryan Singer and starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence — is now on track to make at least $110 million over the long weekend, making it the second-largest holiday opening for the Fox franchise. (X-Men: The Last Stand took in $1o2.7 million in its first three days of release during Memorial Day weekend 2006). As expected, X-Men: Days of Future Past did well among international moviegoers, opening in 119 countries and territories for a global revenue of $261.78 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' opens with $36 million on Friday

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the U.S. government is terrified that mutants might one day take over. And that’s exactly what they did on Friday, earning an estimated $36 million on the film’s first day in theaters. That debut makes it the third-highest movie opening of the year. (Last weekend, Godzilla crushed the competition with $38.5 million, while Marvel flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier took in a cool $36.9 million in April.)

Starring veteran mutants Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Ian McKellan, and X-Men: First Class alums James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, the Bryan Singer-directed time-travel movie was the seventh X-Men film to date — and the most expensive, costing 20th Century Fox an estimated $200 million. EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a B+, saying: “Singer’s return in the pretzel-logic pop fantasia X-Men: Days of Future Past is so triumphant because of how effortless he makes connecting the dots seem. It’s an epic that couldn’t be more Byzantine on paper but scans with ease on-screen.” With its opening day gross across nearly 4,000 U.S. theaters, X-Men: Days of Future Past looks to be a bonafide summer blockbuster that will likely  continue to dominate over the four-day holiday weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: Will 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' hit a $100 million opening?

Memorial Day weekend means big things at the box office, and what better movie to flex its muscles for such a high-profile debut than Fox’s star-studded X-Men: Days of Future Past?

The seventh movie in the long-running franchise brings the original characters together with their “younger” selves from 2011’s X-Men: First Class. Though it’s the third comic book film to open this year, behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it could prove the biggest opening yet. But, as far as Memorial Day records go, it may only crack the top five. The biggest is 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which made an enormous $139.8 million. X-Men: The Last Stand is the third biggest Memorial Day weekend opening of all time with $122.8 million, but tracking indicates that this latest installment won’t quite reach those heights.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s comedy Blended also opens wide this weekend, providing some alternative programming to the superhero/monster fare and the comfort of a reliable comedic pairing.

Here’s how things might play out:

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Box office report: 'Godzilla' demolishes the competition with $93.2 million weekend

Get ready for lots of monster puns and destruction jokes: Godzilla had a clear path to box office domination this weekend. After setting a new record for best opening day on Friday with $38.5 million, the King of the Monsters handily won the weekend with an estimated $93.2 million.

The reported $160 million film — directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, and a couple of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) — got a B+ Cinema Score, though critical reception has been decidedly mixed (EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a B-; you can read his review here). IMAX grosses were responsible for $14.1 million of Godzilla‘s total haul, which means when people want to see giant lizard-y monsters wreck a city, they want to see it big. (Side note: Another peripheral winner thanks to Godzilla? New York City, which — for once — is not the scene for urban destruction. Thanks for taking your turn, San Francisco!)

Coming in second place is the frat-tastic Neighbors, which — even with a 47 percent dip for its second weekend — grossed $26 million this weekend, bringing its total to $91.53 million (not to mention the $54.8 million overseas, bringing its global total to $146.3 million). Not bad for an R-rated comedy with an estimated $18 million budget. The movie — starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco — has now officially bypassed other recent comedies such as 21 Jump Street and The Heat. To-ga! READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Godzilla' sets 2014 record after $38.5 million rampage on Friday

The King of the Monsters took the box office crown on Friday. Godzilla, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and a few enormous radioactive monsters, earned an estimated $38.5 million in theaters on its first day in theaters — the best opening day yet for 2014. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened with $36.9 million last month, while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took in $35.2 on its first day two weeks ago.) That puts the film on track for an opening-weekend total around $97 million. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), Godzilla reportedly cost $160 million — an amount it should easily make back in the coming weeks. The last U.S.-made Godzilla movie was Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version, a notorious misfire that cost $130 million and grossed just $136.3 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Godzilla' fights for No. 1

The King of the Monsters prepares to be the King of the Box Office, as Warner Bros. and Legendary’s Godzilla stomps into theaters this weekend.

As one of cinema’s most beloved icons, this new take from indie director Gareth Edwards promises a terrifying origin story for the ancient beast and a drama about one particularly unlucky family. Sixteen years after Sony and Roland Emmerich’s botched attempt to kick off an exciting Godzilla franchise, it remains to be seen whether audiences are interested in the atomic-breathed monster and how well it might stand up to the army of summer superheroes.

Disney’s PG-rated sports drama Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm, also opens wide this weekend. Though it won’t be competing for the top spot — or anywhere close to that — it will be interesting to see whether a sincere, and somewhat sugary, sports pic will appeal to audiences in the long term as 42 managed to do last spring.

Here’s how things might play out: READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Neighbors' beats 'Spider-Man 2' with $51 million haul

New film Neighbors (Cinema Score: B) easily won the domestic box office battle this weekend. Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, and Zac Efron’s frat comedy earned an estimated $51.1 million, making for a global total of $85 million so far. Last week’s No. 1 movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, fell to second place, with a weekend gross of $37.2 million for a cumulative domestic gross of $147.9 million and a worldwide gross of $550 million. The Other Woman, meanwhile, raked in $9.2 million for a domestic total of $61.7 million.

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