“Chappie” was the biggest box office draw last weekend, but it was far from an impressive victory. Neill Blomkamp’s robot sci-fi thriller took the top spot with a disappointing $13.3 million opening over the lackluster competition of “Focus” and “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” That leaves the door wide open for a new release to take the lead, and there is little doubt that the belle of the box office ball this weekend will be Disney's live-action reboot of “Cinderella.”
“Cinderella,” directed by Kenneth Branagh (“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “Thor”), tells the classic story of a poor servant girl, mistreated by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, who meets a prince. Lily James ("Downton Abbey") stars, with Cate Blanchett as the wicked Stepmother, Richard Madden ("Game of Thrones") as Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. Though not a direct remake, the movie was heavily influenced by the classic 1950 animated film by Disney – the studio behind the new film.
With “Cinderella,” Disney hopes to replicate the success of "Maleficent," last year’s live-action reimagining of "Sleeping Beauty." The projected $60 million opening weekend for “Cinderella” would be on par with “Maleficent,” which went on to earn $758.4 million at the box office worldwide. The only catch is that “Cinderella” lacks the star power Angelina Jolie brought to last year’s fairy tale smash. However, weak competition and a weekend that sees many children on spring break could add up to big numbers.
With a slate of movies inspired by its past hits – including “The Jungle Book” next year and a just-announced “Dumbo” remake – Disney will be watching “Cinderella” to see if audiences continue to turn out for live-action takes on animated classics.
The only new competition for “Cinderella” this weekend will be “Run All Night,” which also opens in wide release Friday. It stars Liam Neeson as a hit man who must protect his son (Joel Kinnaman) after he witnesses a murder. Ed Harris plays the mob boss looking to eliminate the younger man. Analysts predict the film will take in $15 million over the weekend, which should land it in a distant second place behind “Cinderella.”