‘Deadpool’ Dominates Box Office Again – Even With 3 New Openers

The mordant superhero movie is on track for another strong weekend at $56 million. Sony’s religious drama “Risen” is runner-up

Fox’s violent, vulgar and funny “Deadpool” again dominated the North American box office Friday with $16.2 million, and the Ryan Reynolds superhero saga is on pace for a $56 million second-weekend win.

The Tim Miller-directed superhero movie send-up was overpowering and its Friday haul — a roughly 65 percent drop from its record-breaking opening day last week — topped the combined total taken in by the three new movies: Sony’s historical religious drama “Risen,” A24’s low-budget horror film “The Witch” and Focus Features’ Jesse Owens biopic “Race.”

The R-rated “Deadpool” will cross the $200 million mark domestically on Saturday, and by Sunday its 10-day domestic total could hit $240 million. The Marvel Comic-based tale of foul-mouthed mercenary given super healing powers in a rogue cancer operation has a shot at becoming the 15th movie ever to top $60 million in its second weekend.

“Risen,” a religious-themed movie starring Joseph Fiennes and opening during Lent, did the best of the new films and came in second with $4 million on Friday from 2,915 theaters. That’s the fourth-best first day ever for a faith-based movie, behind only “Passion of the Christ,” “Son of God” and “Heaven Is for Real.”

The $20 million drama from Sony’s Affirm label tapped into its target Christian market with a campaign that launched last August with a trailer accompanying  “War Room,”  a low-budget faith-based Affirm drama that became 2015’s highest-grossing indie release. “Risen,” which is directed by “Waterworld” director Kevin Reynolds, received an “A-” CinemaScore from first-night audiences, upping the chances it will play well through Easter.

Holdovers “Kung Fu Panda,” Warner Bros.’ R-rated rom-com “How to Be Single” and Paramount’s “Zoolander 2” all logged roughly $3.5 million Friday, but the Dreamworks Animation family tale could have an edge for the weekend, given the kiddie corp that typically turns out on Saturdays.

“The Witch” is distributor A24’s widest release in its four years — specialty fare and limited openings are its bread and butter — and depicts a 17th Century Puritan family battling evil. The R-rated chiller brought in $3.2 million from 2,047 theaters on Friday and it will finish with around $7.6 million over the three days.

That makes it a win for A24, which along with DirecTV acquired the domestic rights for roughly $1 million out of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a directing award for Scott Eggars. A digital and VOD release was the original plan for “The Witch,” but A24 pivoted when test screenings and early buzz convinced them it had the potential to do more.

“The Witch,” which stars young Anya Taylor-Joy, was boosted by strong reviews (88 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) and the endorsement of horror novelist Stephen King. But notoriously tough-grading horror fans weren’t swayed and gave it a “C-” CinemaScore.

“Race,” which stars Stephan James as the American sprinter who debunked Adoph Hitler’s claims of Aryan superiority at the 1936 Olympics, debuted with $2.3 million from 2,369 locations. It’s on pace to finish the three days with around $7 million and it received an “A” CinemaScore from first-night fans.

The overall weekend was running roughly 15 percent of the comparable frame last year, when “Fifty Shades of Gray” recorded a $22 million repeat win. The domestic box office is currently running about two percent of last year at a similar stage.

 

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