Maleficent: Angelina Jolie Commands

“Maleficent” reigned over the weekend box office, as the Disney release debuted to a magical $70 million domestically and $100.6 million internationally, according to studio estimates.

Credit goes to matching an international star in Angelina Jolie with a vehicle that played to her regal appeal and cinema’s most pronounced cheekbones. It’s a sign that even in an age where bankable actors and actresses are an endangered species, the name above the title still carries weight.

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

“Maleficent’s” stateside figure ranks as a record domestic debut for Jolie, edging out “Kung Fu Panda” ($60.2 million), “Wanted” ($50.9 million) and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” ($50.3 million).

Audiences were more bewitched by “Maleficent”  than critics, handing the film an A CinemaScore rating. “Maleficent” currently has a middling 50% “rotten” ranking on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

In the U.S., the $180 million budgeted fantasy screened in  3,948 theaters, with a substantial chunk offering premium viewing options. Imax padded the domestic total, contributing $6.7 million to its haul from 347 screens, while 3D screens made up 21% of the windfall, once again demonstrating the challenge that format faces among families looking to economize.

Families made up the bulk of “Maleficent’s” audience, comprising 45% of ticket-buyers, with the overall demographics weighted toward females, who represented 60% of crowds.

Though most major summer releases are front-loaded, making a big splash in their initial weekends before dropping off steeply, “Maleficent” could benefit from a lack of family-oriented films in the marketplace. “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ doesn’t open until June 13, making “Maleficent” the only game in town when it comes to younger audiences.

“From a competitive standpoint we are in the unique position of being the beneficiary of a lack of competition,” Hollis said. “We are about to start a week where almost half of the country is out of school.”

The success of “Maleficent” pushed Disney to the $2 billion mark at the worldwide box office, a number it reached thanks largely to the success of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Frozen.”