Cinderella: Good Reviews, Excellent Box-Office

cinderella_posterDisney’s live-action reboot opened to $23 million on Friday as it heads for a $70 million weekend.

The movie more than outpaced Liam Neeson’s “Run All Night,” which is on track for an $11 million weekend.

This puts “Cinderella” slightly ahead of the studio’s last fairy tale re-do, “Maleficent,” which launched to $69.4 million in May 2014.

And unlike “Maleficent,” which was fueled by Angelina Jolie’s star power but received mixed reviews, “Cinderella” is led by a relative newcomer.  “Maleficent“ earned $758.4 million worldwide.

Aside from rave reviews (earning it 84% on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie is likely benefiting from its female-driven cast and the fact that its preceded in theaters by a seven-minute long “Frozen Fever” short.

In addition to “Maleficent,” “Cinderella” follows several other successful Disney reimaginings of classic animated titles: 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” and 2013’s “Oz The Great and Powerful.”

cinderella_13_jamesAlice in Wonderland” bowed to a record-breaking $116.1 million and went on to haul over $1 billion worldwide, while “Oz The Great and Powerful” debuted to $79.1 million and ultimately grossed $493.3 million; it underperforming overseas, probably because of lack of name recognition of James Franco,

All these films had budgets at least twice the size of “Cinderella’s” $95 million, with “Oz” coming in at $215 million.

cinderella_13_blanchettDirected by Kenneth Branagh, “Cinderella” stars “Downton Abbey’s” Lily James as the titular princess, “Game of Thrones’s” Richard Madden as Prince Charming, Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother.

Liam Neeson–Overexposed?

The weekend’s other new release, “Run All Night,” a runner-up that opened to $3.9 million on Friday on its way to $11 million-plus this weekend.  This is far behind “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” which launched to $26.3 million last September, and Neeson’s third and final “Taken” picture, which opened to $39.2 million in January.

Neeson plays a hit man who’s forced to betray his boss to save his son.

Will Smith’s “Focus” and Colin Firth’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service” were neck and neck for third place.

Warner Bros.’ crime drama “Focus” brought in $1.7 million on Friday and has its eyes set on reaching an estimated $5.8 million by Sunday.