This image released by Disney shows Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, left, in a scene with her daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, portraying Young Aurora, in a scene from the film, "Maleficent."  – Photo by AP
This image released by Disney shows Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, left, in a scene with her daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, portraying Young Aurora, in a scene from the film, "Maleficent." – Photo by AP

SHANGHAI: Actress Angelina Jolie said Tuesday she was thrilled her latest film Maleficent, a modern retelling of the life of Sleeping Beauty's arch-nemesis, had debuted at the top of the box office.

Maleficent raked in nearly $70 million in North America over the past weekend. The movie not only casts Jolie in the title role as the malevolent fairy but was also produced by the star.

“This type of film is really one you do for the audience. It thrills me that people are enjoying it and it's a success,” she told a news conference in Shanghai, where she is promoting the movie before its mainland China opening on June 20.

China had the world's second largest box office at $3.6 billion last year, behind only North America, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. It has attracted a steady stream of Hollywood stars promoting their works.

Jolie said she would welcome the chance to work with a Chinese director, but she hoped her own career would shift away from just acting to working behind the camera.

“In the future, I will be doing less acting and more directing if I'm fortunate enough to have that career,” she said. Her directing credits include “In the Land of Blood and Honey” about the Bosnian war.

But the actress said she hoped to play the character Maleficent again and admitted taking home a souvenir of the film -- the curly, black horns from her costume.

Jolie was accompanied by her partner, the actor Brad Pitt, and three children on her first visit to China, where they visited a contemporary art museum and her children learnt to make Chinese “dim sum” pastry and dumplings.

Pitt was punched in the face by an intruder last week while signing autographs at the Hollywood premiere of “Maleficent”. He did not appear at the Shanghai news conference.

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