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‘Maleficent’ Release Date Set, Angelina Jolie Starring as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Villain

Angelina Jolie, Maleficent
Elisabetta Villa, Getty Images

After raking in a hefty $1 billion worldwide with ‘Alice in Wonderland’ back in 2010, Disney is returning to the live-action fairy tale genre with ‘Maleficent,’ starring Angelina Jolie. And the company has set a release date that indicates it believes in lightning striking twice.

The Mouse has confirmed March 14th, 2014 as the release date for the movie, which is more or less a prequel to Disney’s animated classic ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ Jolie stars as the titular evil fairy and self-proclaimed “mistress of all evil” who curses Princess Aurora and sends her to sleep. The new film, which will trace Maleficent’s origins, is the directorial debut of production designer Robert Stromberg, who worked on ‘Avatar,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Sam Raimi’s upcoming ‘Oz the Great and Powerful.’

A March release date (the 5th to be exact) seemed to be good luck for ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ so it’s no surprise that the company and producer Joe Roth (who also produced ‘Alice’) are aiming for the same berth with ‘Maleficent.’ Of course, they’re also hoping that seeing Jolie as the character voted by the Ultimate Disney website as the Number One Disney villain will be an undeniable box office draw (Elle Fanning is rumored to be playing Aurora).

The one aspect of all this that might provide a wake-up call to Disney, however, is that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ pretty much had this genre to itself when it opened. Since then, we’ve had ‘Mirror, Mirror’ open tepidly last month, with ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ due in June and several more fairy-tale themed pictures — ‘Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters‘ and ‘Jack the Giant Killer‘ — lined up for 2013. Will fairy tale fatigue start to set in before Maleficent gets to cast her spell?

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