“Deadpool” delivered a $55 million victory in its second weekend, and in the process lifted its domestic total to $235 million less than two weeks for Twentieth Century Fox.
The violent and raunch-laden action film starring Ryan Reynolds did even better overseas this weekend, adding another $85 million to bring its overseas haul to $256 million. It’s worldwide total is a whopping $497 million.
The dominating win by the R-rated “Deadpool” overshadowed the $10.8 million debut of Sony/Affirm’s “Risen,” one of the best openings ever by a faith-based movie, which was neck-and-neck with “Kung Fu Panda 3 for second.
The low-budget horror film “The Witch” debuted with $8.6 million, a high-mark for distributor A24 and good enough for fourth place ahead of the holdover romantic comedy “How To Be Single,” which took in a little over $8 million for Warner Bros.
The weekend’s other wide opener, the Jesse Owens biopic “Race” sprinted to $7.2 million for Focus Features.
The overall box office continued to percolate, and is running about two percent ahead of the last year’s record domestic take. The weekend was came in roughly 15 percent ahead of the comparable frame last year, when “Fifty Shades of Gray” recorded a $22 million repeat win.
“Risen,” a $20 million drama from Sony’s Affirm labe and financed by LD Entertainment, 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.
Directed by “Waterworld” director Kevin Reynolds, “Risen” received an “A-” CinemaScore from first-night audiences, which were 70 percent over the age of 25 and 53 percent female. That ups the the chances it will play well through Easter and play beyond its base. Tom Felton, Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis co-star.
“The Witch” is A24’s widest release in its four years — specialty fare and limited openings are its bread and butter — and it its strong showing means the indie distributor’s leadership made a good call.
A24 and DirecTV acquired the domestic rights to “The Witch” 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, but A24 pivoted when test screenings and early buzz convinced them that the R-rated tale of a 17th Century Puritan family battling evil had the potential to do more.
“The Witch” stars young Anya Taylor-Joy and 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.
The best news this weekend for the PG-13 “Race,” which stars Stephan James as the American sprinter who debunked Adoph Hitler’s claims of Aryan superiority at the 1936 Olympics, might be its “A” CinemaScore.
Focus, which picked up the domestic rights for roughly $5 million, is hoping that its start is good enough to build on over the next few weeks.
African-American were well-represented in the opening weekend crowds, which split evenly gender-wise and played a little older, with 76 percent over 25 years old and 56 percent over the age of 35.
Jon Boyega was at one point in the lead role in “Race,” but left for the chance to appear in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”