Disney’s “Cinderella” charmed its way to a $23 million first day at the box office by the time the clock struck midnight on Friday.

That puts a $70 million opening weekend within range of the bright live-action update of Disney’s classic 1950 animated fairy tale. That would be right around the debut of Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent,” the studio’s dark “Sleeping Beauty” reworking that conjured $69 million in its first three days last May after a $24.2 million opening day.

“Cinderella” has blown past last weekend’s No. 1 film “Chappie” and the only other wide opening movie, Liam Neeson‘s R-rated thriller “Run All Night, which is looking at a soft $11 million debut weekend after a $3.8 million Friday. The overall box office is running about 20 percent ahead of last year’s comparable frame, after two straight down weekends.

 

– and a 7-minute “Frozen Fever” short before the film began, too– and awarded an “A” CinemaScore.

At Rotten Tomatoes, a sterling 97 percent of the critics’ reviews are positive. Lily James is the maiden transformed and Richard Madden her prince in this straightforward “Cinderella,” directed by Richard Branagh from Chris Weistz’s screenplay.

Cate Blanchett is the Lady Tremaine and Helen Bonham Carter is the fairy godmother in the Walt Disney Pictures film produced for $95 million — half the cost of “Maleficent” — by David Barron, Simon Kinberg and Allison Shearmur.

On its current pace, the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed “Run All Night” will finish under the weekend total of “A Walk Among Tombstones,” a similar thriller that fizzled in September. Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris and Common co-star in the crime saga, offered as a counter play to the female-skewing “Cinderella” by Warner Bros.

Read original story ‘Cinderella’ Eyes $70 Million After Waltzing to $23 Million at Friday Box Office At TheWrap