Zombieland 2 Tops Maleficent: Mistress of Evil at Thursday Box Office

This weekend is a big one for long-awaited sequels at the box office, with two such films squaring off in their debut outings. Sony's Zombieland: Double Tap is the sequel to the 2009 sleeper hit Zombieland, while Angelina Jolie stars in the second Maleficent film for Walt Disney Studios, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Both of their predecessors delivered surprising box office hauls when released in 2009 and 2014, respectively, and the studios are hoping these sequels will do the same. Maleficent is expected to take home the three day crown come Monday morning, but it's Zombieland out to an impressive start after Thursday previews.

According to Variety, Zombieland: Double Tap opened to $2.9 million on Thursday night, playing in a total of 3,052 theaters. That was enough to beat Disney's Maleficent sequel, which earned $2.3 million. That's certainly a strong start for Zombieland, one that it really needs this weekend, facing the likes of Maleficent and Joker, the latter of which is entering its third weekend.

The first Zombieland made $24 million in its opening weekend back in 2009, on its way to a domestic total of $76 million. Current tracking suggests that the sequel will have a similar debut over the next three days, and likely a total in the same range when all is said and done.

Despite starting off slow on Thursday night, Maleficent is likely win the overall weekend with about $35 million, lower than it was initially projected. The first Maleficent movie saw a $4.2 million Thursday preview, nearly $2 million more than this year's sequel, and went on to dominate its opening weekend with $69 million. All in all, Maleficent was a bonafide box office hit for Disney, taking in $750 million across the globe.

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The two films battling it out are going for very different audiences, so there likely won't be a ton of overlap between the two. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a fantasy adaptation for young adults and some families while Zombieland: Double Tap is an R-rated horror comedy.

Which movie are you heading out to see this weekend? Let us know in the comments!