Fox’s surprise blockbuster should continue to dominate moviegoing this weekend over a trio of newcomers. A24’s horror film “The Witch” looks like the strongest of the three, heading for as much as $13 million while Sony’s religious drama “Risen” is attracting faith-based customers with about $11 million.
Jesse Owens biopic “Race” appears headed for a moderate start with about $8 million for Focus, in line with expectations. “The Witch” may scare up enough business to finish ahead of the fourth weekend of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which has amassed $105 million so far at the U.S. box office.
“Deadpool,” which grossed $180 million in its first week, should manage to eclipse the combined box office of the next four finishers. It has a shot at becoming the 15th movie in history to take in at least $60 million domestically in its second weekend, leaving it with around $240 million for its first 10 days — higher than all but seven 2015 releases.
“Deadpool” should easily become the highest-grossing movie in Reynolds’ career at the U.S. box office after Friday. “The Croods,” his previous career-high, earned $187 million in 2013.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with ComScore, attributes the R-rated pic’s success to “strong social media buzz and the film’s head scratching, conventional wisdom defying nature has kept it at the forefront of movie coverage.”
“The Witch,” the story of a 17th Century Puritan family that becomes afflicted with evil in the woods, is launching a year after it dazzled the Sundance Film Festival when Robert Eggers won the directing award in the dramatic category. A24 and DirecTV picked up domestic rights for $1 million with plans for a VOD release but opted instead for a traditional theatrical release in 2,046 theaters with strong critical support with an 87% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Stephen King endorsement.
“The Witch” took in $630,000 in Thursday night previews, followed by “Risen” with $425,000 and “Race” with $210,000.
“The Witch” and “Risen,” starring Joseph Fiennes as a Roman tribune investigating reports of Jesus’ resurrection, look likely to take in about $4 million each on Friday. Directed by “Waterworld” helmer Kevin Reynolds, “Risen” is being handled by Sony’s faith-based label Affirm at 2,915 theaters.
“Risen” carries a $20 million budget and was produced with LD Entertainment.
“Race,” which is playing at 2,369 locations, stars Stephan James as Owens in the inspirational story of his winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and repudiating Adolf Hitler’s assertions of Aryan supremacy. Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten and William Hurt also star.
Focus Features bought domestic rights for $5 million.