Disney Taps Angelina Jolie Following Serious Health Scare to Help Its Failing Box Office Performance

angelina jolie smiling
Credit: Disney

Disney has tapped actress Angelina Jolie following a significant health scare in an effort to boost its failing performance at the box office.

disney movie at theater

Credit: Disney/Canva

A Dethroned Disney

For the first time since 2015, Disney has been dethroned as king of the box office. In 2023, Disney was beat out for the #1 spot at the box office by Universal Pictures, which garnered an impressive $4.907 billion in worldwide ticket sales, compared to Disney’s total of $4.827 billion.

The fall from the #1 spot was likely no surprise to The Walt Disney Company, which has been taking very obvious and public steps to curb losses incurred by Disney-owned studios since February 2023, when CEO Bob Iger announced the company’s push to lean back on some of Disney’s most lucrative and popular franchises to break the company’s streak of losses at the studio.

woody elsa judy hopps disney pixar characters

Credit: Disney/Pixar/Canva

Disney’s Attempts to Salvage the Studios

Part of Iger’s announcement included news about new installments in three film franchises: Pixar’s Toy Story, Disney’s Frozen, and Disney’s Zootopia. The results will be Toy Story 5, Frozen 3, and Zootopia 2.

More recently, Disney announced the debut of three Pixar films at the box office: Soul (2020) will be released on January 12, Turning Red (2022) will hit theaters on February 9, and finally, Luca (2021) will hit theaters on March 22. Neither of the three films enjoyed a box office debut, as they were released either during or shortly following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, during which movie theaters were not being frequented.

Disney Taps a Superstar to Bring Back the Box Office Magic

Now Disney has tapped the talents of a superstar actress in its attempt to win back the box office. Maleficent 3 is reportedly in the works, as announced in December. The new film will bring back actress Angelina Jolie in the title role as the Disney villain from Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty, who has an elaborate backstory that explains why she is the way she is.

maleficent angelina jolie

Credit: Disney

Recently, Jolie had indicated a possible desire to take a step back from the acting scene, but despite that, her return to the Maleficent franchise has been confirmed.

The actress recently experienced a health scare with a diagnosis of Bell’s palsy, a temporary paralysis of the face that leads to the drooping of one side of the face because of damage or trauma to facial nerves.

Specific details about the story of Maleficent 3 have been kept under wraps so far, but fans of the franchise have speculated about the third film, based on the ending of the second film, during which Aurora, played by actress Elle Fanning, marries Prince Phillip, and Maleficent promises to be back for the christening of the couple’s future children.
powerful fey⚡ on X: "The Best Movie Wedding✨💕 ✨Aurora ❤ Phillip✨ #MaleficentMistressOfEvil #Maleficent2 #AngelinaJolie #ellefanning #SleepingBeauty https://t.co/S31xjlctcg" / X

Credit: Disney

While Disney has not yet confirmed filming dates, fans are hopeful that the resolution of the writer and actor strikes in 2023 will give way to filming beginning sometime in 2024.

As of the time of this post, only Jolie’s return has been confirmed, and the remaining cast roles, including those of Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Ed Skrein, Jaume Collet Serra, Harris Dickinson, and Linda Woolverton, as well as associated cast details, have yet to be finalized. Fans of the Maleficent films are hopeful about the return of actress Elle Fanning in the role of Aurora, but there are no guarantees, especially since Fanning has not been in any films since 2020.

Will a Third “Maleficent” Be a Friend or Foe to Disney’s Box Office Performance?

It’s possible that a third Maleficent film could boost Disney’s box office presence. Maleficent (2014) grossed $241.4 million in the U.S. and Canada and $517.1 million at the international box office against a budget of just $180 million.
maleficent angelina jolie

Credit: Disney

But it’s worth noting that the film has received only a 54% Rotten Tomatoes score, with the general consensus of reviews of the film being that “Angelina Jolie’s magnetic performance outshines Maleficent‘s dazzling special effects, [but,] unfortunately, the movie around them fails to justify all that impressive effort.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) received a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score, and based on reviews on the website, the film “too rarely supports its impressive cast and visuals with enough magical storytelling to justify its existence,” meaning it’s really anyone’s guess about how a third film will fare at the box office.

Credit: Disney

There has been no release date shared for Maleficent 3, and as this is preliminary information, more details will be shared as they become available.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

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