Jennifer Lawrence is a tried and true box office star. She draws both men and women, has won an Oscar and seems to have everything a star needs now, male or female, to bring in ticket buyers. The last one like her was Julia Roberts but she never had to endure what every actor/actress has to now: how to shimmy up the pole of the fanboy demographic. Lawrence has done it successfully, putting on the dumb costumes and everything. But now Angelina Jolie is entering a slightly different demographic with her name above the title in Maleficent. Jolie, of course, is one of the highest paid in the business because she’s really managed to also dwell in the fanboy universe with the Tomb Raider films way back when. Being that she’s such a worldwide legend, Jolie’s chances of bringing this film to number one seem fairly high. Add to that the “family” demographic challenges the fanboy demographic nowadays at the box office. The only thing that will keep the families from trotting out the tots for this film is if they think it’s too scary.
Both Salt and Wanted both made over $100 million. Her voice work in Kung Fu Panda also earned way over the water mark. But Maleficent will test Jolie overall, and the power of this newfound artery for up and coming young women who aren’t really up for the kind of crap romcoms Hollywood keeps throwing at them. Because it’s so rare to have any woman headlining a film now the pressure is on.
Bringing out Elle Fanning now in the publicity blitz will likely help to tamp down the potential scariness of Jolie’s character. Maleficent opens May 30th.