Blockbuster Sequels Underperform at the Box Office


Press Release Posters courtesy of Zombieland and Maleficent Twitter pages

Press release posters of Zombieland Double Tap and Maleficent.

Joshua Letona, News Editor

The weekend of Oct. 18 saw two long-awaited sequels underperform at the box office. 

Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and Sony Pictures’s “Zombieland: Double Tap” both released in the same weekend and saw a low turnout from audiences when the originals did significantly better.

According to Box Office Mojo, a box office reporting service, the original “Maleficent” opened to $69.4 million domestically on its Memorial Day weekend release. The film went on to make $758.5 million worldwide. 

Released five years later, the sequel grossed almost half of the original at $36.9 million domestically.

The original “Zombieland” opened at $24.7 million domestically and its sequel only opened with $2.1 million more. The sequel arrived 10 years after. Though it’s a small improvement, the two studios hope to see a larger profit in their opening weekends compared to just a mere $2 million.

As of right now, this puts “Zombieland: Double Tap” on pace with the original box office, but steep competition in upcoming weeks could make that less likely. This is true for both movies, which can see significant drops in attendance in the weekends to come.

Audiences weren’t drawn to the properties like they were to the original films. Even the critical reception was on a downward trend.

The original “Maleficent” wasn’t a critical hit, but proved itself at the box office. Currently on Rotten Tomatoes, the sequel stands at 41 percent rotten. Only 12 percent down from the first film, which was also rotten. 

The first “Zombieland” was favored by critics at 90 percent fresh, but its sequel sits currently at 67 percent. While still critically fresh, the box office paints the picture audiences did not feel the need to come out for this one.

Even with the original cast returning, the Rotten Tomatoes scores prove that word of mouth remains a strong reason for audience members not to go see a movie.

Ultimately, the true problem both films face is that they are too little, too late.

Sony Pictures and Disney should have hit while the iron was hot with these properties. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” should have been fast tracked for a 2016 release and “Zombieland: Double Tap” came way past the zombie craze set by shows like “The Walking Dead.” 

Relying on fans to come out again at least half a decade later works in some cases, but these properties don’t have strong fan bases exhibited by the box office. People simply didn’t care this time around.

At the very least, fans of these films got to spend another round with their favorite characters.