“The Witch” played in 1,800 U.S. locations, while “Risen” screened at 2,329 sites during preview showings.
Meanwhile, Focus Features’ “Race” got off to a quiet start with $205,000 at 1,800 screens.
The trio of openers is challenging the second weekend of Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool,” which is expected to dominate again with at least $50 million. Fox’s surprise blockbuster had already topped $172 million as of Wednesday following its record-setting President’s Day Weekend.
“The Witch,” the story of a Puritan family that becomes afflicted with evil in the woods, was picked up at Sundance last year after Robert Eggers won the directing prize in the U.S. dramatic category.
“The Witch” has scored an impressive 87% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an endorsement from Stephen King. The opening for “The Witch” at 1,800 theaters marks the widest launch in A24’s history. The film, which seems to be connecting with horror aficionados, is set to rack up more than $10 million — although the studio insists that it would be content with an opening in the $3 million to $4 million range, considering its $1 million budget.
“Risen,” starring Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton, follows a Roman soldier tasked with examining rumors of Jesus’ resurrection. The film cost $20 million to produce and launches at 2,915 theaters with forecasts in the $10 million range.
“Race” centers on the trials and triumphs of Jesse Owens, the black Olympian who nabbed four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin games. Focus Features bought domestic rights for $5 million.
Forecasts for “Race” have come in around $9 million for its opening weekend.