Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” brought her magic to the box office this weekend, bringing $70.1 million in ticket sales according to studio estimates in the U.S. and Canada.
This puts “Cinderella” slightly ahead of the studio’s last fairy tale redo, “Maleficent,” the spinoff of “Sleeping Beauty” that starred Angelina Jolie which launched to $69.4 million in May 2014. “Cinderella” became the third largest Disney opening for the month of March, behind the live-action “Alice in Wonderland,” which launched with $116.1 million in 2010, and “Oz the Great and Powerful,” which opened to $79.1 million in 2013.
The Kenneth Branagh-directed film, which cost about $95 million to produce, ”Cinderella” brings back the classic fairy tale with Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) in the title role. After Cinderella’s father dies, her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) treats her like a servant, and a fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) steps in to help change her luck and get her to the royal ball, where Prince Charming (Richard Madden) awaits.
Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution said, “The key to adapting a beloved property is to remain true to the essence of the original while creatively imagining the story in a new or fresh way.”
The film pleased most moviegoers and earned an A-minus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore. The audience skewed female (66 percent) and young (31 percent ages 12 and younger). Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a solid 83 percent positive rating.
Internationally, the film attracted in about $62.4 million in more than 30 markets, bringing its total global haul to $132.5 million.
An estimated 20 percent of U.S. schools were on spring break likely helped give “Cinderella” an additional push, Hollis said. He also attributed the performance to positive word-of-mouth and promotion.
“The marketing team helped create an event around the film,” Hollis said.
Coming in at second for the weekend was “Run All Night,” which launched with about $11 million.
Though it scored an A-minus from CinemaScore, the film fell short of $15 million tracking expectations.
“There’s a good buzz out there on the movie,” said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.’ head of distribution. “I just wish it had opened up a little stronger.”