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Principal photography took place between June and October The film's special screening took place in London on May 9, , at Kensington Palace. While the film was met with mixed reviews from critics, it earned praise for its visuals, costumes, musical score, and Jolie's performance. A sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil , is in production and set for release on October 18, Maleficent is a powerful fairy living in the Moors, a magical forest realm bordering a human kingdom. As a young girl, Maleficent meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition.

As they become older, the two grow apart and Maleficent becomes protector of the Moors.

When King Henry tries to conquer the Moors, Maleficent mortally wounds him and forces him to retreat. As he lies dying, he declares that whoever kills Maleficent will be named his successor and marry his daughter, Princess Leila. Stefan visits Maleficent in the Moors, drugs her, but is unable to bring himself to kill Maleficent.


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Instead, he cuts off her wings with iron, which is lethal to fairies, and presents them to the king. Devastated by Stefan's betrayal, Maleficent turns the Moors into a dark kingdom and recruits a shapeshifter named Diaval as her spy and servant.

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After some time, Diaval informs Maleficent that Stefan, now king, is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Aurora. Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess; on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken.

When Stefan begs for mercy, Maleficent mocks him and offers an antidote; the curse can only be broken by true love's kiss, which Maleficent and Stefan are sure is nonexistent. Fearing for his daughter's safety, Stefan sends Aurora to live with three pixies—Knotgrass, Thistlewit, and Flittle—until the day after her 16th birthday, while he destroys all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides their remnants in the castle dungeon.

Stefan sends his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns. This causes Stefan to slip into madness and paranoia, trying to prevent the curse, even neglecting to see his wife on her deathbed. Despite her initial dislike for Aurora, Maleficent begins to care for her when the bumbling and neglectful pixies fail to do so. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar.

When Aurora is 15, she encounters Maleficent. Knowing that she is being watched over, Aurora begins to call Maleficent her "fairy godmother", an act which causes Maleficent to try and undo the curse, but she is unsuccessful — the curse is unbreakable by any means other than true love's kiss. Meanwhile, in the forest, Aurora meets a young prince named Philip, and the two are attracted to each other. On the day before Aurora's 16th birthday, Aurora tells Maleficent that she would like to live with her in the Moors.

When Aurora returns to the cottage, the pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her past and Maleficent's true identity. Aurora runs to her father's castle, upset that Maleficent had never told her about the curse. After a brief reunion with his daughter, Stefan locks her away in a room for her own safety while setting up a plan to kill Maleficent.


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  7. However, the power of the curse draws Aurora to the dungeon, where a spinning wheel magically reassembles itself. Aurora pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep, fulfilling the curse. Maleficent, intent on saving her, abducts Phillip and infiltrates Stefan's castle, but Phillip's kiss fails to awaken Aurora.

    At her bedside, Maleficent apologizes to Aurora and kisses her forehead. Aurora awakens, as Maleficent's motherly feelings towards her count as true love. However, as Maleficent and Aurora attempt to leave, they are ambushed by Stefan and his guards, who drop an iron net on Maleficent. Maleficent transforms Diaval into a dragon, who battles Stefan's guards, but he is eventually captured as well.

    Stefan taunts Maleficent, who is dizzy and sick from the iron, his former love for her fully gone. Before he can deliver the final blow, Aurora finds Maleficent's wings and releases them, upon which they fly to Maleficent and reattach themselves. Maleficent carries Stefan to the top of the castle's highest tower but cannot bring herself to kill him. However, Stefan attacks Maleficent as she turns away, and they both plummet from the tower, entwined. Maleficent opens her wings and Stefan loses his grip, falling to his death.

    In the end, Maleficent returns the Moors to its former glory, and Aurora is crowned queen to unify the two kingdoms. Prince Phillip stands by as she is crowned and the two jovially smile at one another. Angelina Jolie had long been attached to the project since March , when Tim Burton , who had tentatively planned to direct, chose not to pursue it. Zanuck were hired as producers, although Zanuck died later that year.

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    There was no point in making the movie if it wasn't her. Director Stromberg highlighted the "wonderful" contrast between the two lead actresses, Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie, calling the character of Aurora the "beacon of light" that he was looking forward to blending with the darkness of Maleficent. Linda Woolverton's screenplay went through at least 15 versions as the film progressed in the production.

    We did lots of roundtable discussions and sort of cut out the fat as much as we could and sort of purified the storyline as much as we could". The version of the screenplay that went into shooting originally included two characters called Queen Ulla and King Kinloch, the fairy queen and the fairy king of the Moors, and the aunt and uncle of Maleficent. Stromberg said: "We spent a bit more time originally in the fairy world before we got into the human side of things So we cut about 15 minutes out of the first act, and then that had to be seamed together with some pretty basic reshoots.

    Stromberg later claimed in an interview that he employed an "age-old" emotional storytelling for the film and called it "the biggest thrill" against all technology advances. So the moral to it is we can all feel dark ourselves but not to lose hope because there is light in places where we might not be expecting", he explained.

    Principal photography began on June 13, John Lee Hancock assisted Stromberg with reshoots for the film. Hancock, who had just finished overseeing the final postproduction stages of Saving Mr. Roth said: "He's not directing.

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    He wrote pages, and I hired a first-time director, and it's good to have him on set. Roth said: "The movie is gorgeous to look at, and the last 75 minutes are really entertaining. The issue was the opening, which was reshot over eight days.


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    As a previous production designer, Stromberg sought to balance the use of practical and computer-generated effects. For example, while Maleficent's horns and facial prosthetics were created by makeup artist Rick Baker , Digital Domain took facial capture of Imelda Staunton , Lesley Manville , and Juno Temple for the three pixies to be generated with high authenticity with the help of special rigging by Disney Research in Zurich. James Newton Howard was hired to score the film in October Del Rey was handpicked by Angelina Jolie to perform the song. All music is composed by James Newton Howard tracks 1— The film was originally slated for a March release, before it was changed to July 2, On September 18, , the film's release date was bumped up from July 2, to May 30, due to Pixar 's The Good Dinosaur having production problems and delays.

    On August 10, , as part of the live action motion picture panel of the Disney D23 Expo in the Anaheim Convention Center at Anaheim, California , Disney unveiled its first look of Maleficent by revealing the new logo of the film's title and one-minute clip from the film.

    Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to the expo and talked with the attendees about her fascination with Disney's Sleeping Beauty as a child, her working experience with the filmmakers on the film, and her love of Disney. She also remarked on how she scared little girls when she was in costume, makeup, and acting during shooting; this led to the decision of hiring her own daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, for the role of the young Princess Aurora, since she would not be scared of her own mother during principal photography.

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    Walt Disney Pictures released the teaser poster for Maleficent on November 12, , featuring Jolie in costume and makeup, akin to the character's depiction in the original film. A tie-in novel was published alongside the movie's release in , written by Elizabeth Rudnick. The novel elaborates on the movie, utilizing a brief prologue detailing Maleficent 's birth, early childhood and parentage.

    The movie never fully elaborates on how the intense hatred amongst men and fairfolk during King Henry's reign came to be, a void the novel fills. The novel also features some different versions of key moments in the film, for example, Stefan angrily smothers King Henry on his deathbed after he declares that he's still unfit to rule even after having brought Maleficent's severed wings to him.

    Later, Stefan forges a Royal Proclamation declaring himself as the late monarch's chosen successor. Maleficent's encounter with the infant Princess Aurora in the forest also differs from the one in the film, since Aurora does feel afraid of Maleficent after she frightens her away. Some of these ideas had originally been filmed but were either cut or altered during post-production while others may have been dramatic license on the part of the author.

    Maleficent is the fourth-highest-grossing film, [75] and Angelina Jolie's highest-grossing live-action film. Dave Lewis, writing for HitFix , predicted that although Disney fairy tales and Angelina Jolie's performance might attract audiences, Maleficent would not gross even as much as Oz the Great and Powerful , explaining that the film was released on the same time frame with competitive releases like X-Men: Days of Future Past , Godzilla and A Million Ways to Die in the West , [78] even though it outperformed those films later on.

    Boxoffice wrote that Maleficent had a successful marketing campaign, featured Jolie in the title role, and its "female-driven" themes and plot aimed at women. However, the site also noted that the film would have to compete with other summer releases, and the character of Maleficent may not attract young children. Cheat Sheet explained that the film approached to a more "grown-up" and "sinister" aspect of the classic, and targeted for an older audience like young adults. Variety wrote that the film's opening weekend outperforming initial box-office projections was later attributed by analysts in part to Disney's successful marketing to the "potent demographic" female audiences much like the studio accomplished with Frozen , in which both films feature a strong female lead.

    Maleficent received mixed reviews from critics. The website's critical consensus reads, "Angelina Jolie's magnetic performance outshines Maleficent ' s dazzling special effects; unfortunately, the movie around them fails to justify all that impressive effort. The New York Times stated, "with two shorn wings and an astonishing maternal kiss, Maleficent demolishes stereotypes that were only tweaked in Frozen. She concluded her review with "Long live the feminist revisionist backstory.

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    But despite their bleeding-edge digital design, the backgrounds have all the depth of the old matte-painted backgrounds of the analog days," which made the film "[feel] classical in nature. He also said that the film "is all about second thoughts", as Maleficent "spends much of the film as Aurora's conflicted fairy godmother. Everyone else, even Aurora, fades in her presence. Jolie manages to steal her own show in most every scene. Jolie is excellent as the hopeful fairy, enjoying the world she flies through. She is also brilliant as the Dark Lady, who could be a perfect counterpart to any Darth Vader, as she malevolently takes her revenge on those who have wronged her.