I don’t know who OK’ed this over at Disney, but, as much as I hate to be the spanner in the works–”Maleficent,” the story of “Sleeping Beauty” from the evil witch’s point of view, isn’t going to work.
And so that I am clear, by “isn’t going to work” I mean “lose lots of money.”
Why is that? Does my hubris stem from being male, attacking any female effort at big-screen success? Or am I being contrary just to be contrary?
While I am male, I have nothing against Angeline Jolie, so that’s not happening.
As of late female-led movies have been doing great business at the box office. ‘The Hunger Games’ movies, led by Jennifer Lawrence, are virtually a license to make money. The first cost $78 million to produce, and earned over $691 million dollars worldwide. It’s sequel, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” cost almost double to produce, at $130 million, and earned $850 billion dollars.
“The Heat,” the buddy-cop picture starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, on a budget of $43 million, earned over $229 million dollars worldwide, so there’s obviously an audience for films with females in the lead.
And I haven’t even mentioned “Gravity, also starring Sandra Bullock, earned over $677 million (so far), on a $100 million dollar budget.
So why am I so down on “Maleficent?” Just look at the trailer. There’s so much CGI on show–that may reflect whomever cut the trailer’s choices more than the movie itself–that it appears that they throw in an occasion human just to mix things up.
Then there’s Jolie, who looks almost skeletal and extremely unhealthy–the opposite of Jennifer Lawrence in the ‘Hunger Games’ films, it bears mentioning.
Sure, some of that look is achieved with makeup, but a lot of it is also due to Jolie being (in my view) unhealthily thin. I get the feeling that there will be some parents who don’t want their daughters to take after such a–in terms of physicality–dubious role model.
Then there’s the story. It’s a telling of “Sleeping Beauty” from the witch’s point of view, which is an interesting twist. I get the feeling that the move to make this movie was inspired by the play “Wicked,” though the people who see plays and those that see movies aren’t necessarily the same, though there is obviously an intersection between the two.
Though the question is: Is it enough to make a profit on a film that costs somewhere in the ballpark of $130-$200 million dollars?
I don’t think so.