by Brad Brevet
Deadpool took #1 at the weekend box office once again in its second weekend of release, crossing $235 million domestically. But it wasn't a weekend all about the Merc with the Mouth as a pair of newcomers in Risen and The Witch had strong opening performances. Additionally, Focus' Race finished its debut sprint with a sixth place finish and Sony saw an impressive limited opening for Stephen Chow's Chinese box office behemoth The Mermaid.
In first, Deadpool brought in an estimated $55 million in its second weekend, a 58.5% drop from last weekend, which is well within expectation as films that open over $100 million tend to drop, on average, 54.3%. Deadpool, as it turns out, had a similar drop to the previous R-rated opening weekend champion, The Matrix Reloaded, which dropped 59.8% in its second weekend back in 2003. The film's drop, however, is much better than last year's Valentine's and President's Day weekend champ, Fifty Shades of Grey, which dropped a massive 73.9%.
Internationally, Deadpool took in an estimated $85 million, bringing its overseas cume to $256.5 million. Combined with its estimated $235.4 million domestic total, the film currently sits at $491.9 million in just under two weeks of release. Domestically, Deadpool has now grossed more than any of the X-Men movies (not adjusted for inflation) and is only second to X-Men: Days of Future Past ($747.9m) worldwide.
The first of the weekend's new releases on the domestic chart is Sony's Risen, which brought in an estimated $11.8 million along with a solid "A-" CinemaScore. The film should play well through March and into early April as it scored one of the biggest faith-based openings of all-time, placing seventh behind the likes of The Passion of the Christ, Son of God and Heaven is for Real as well as the three films in the Narnia trilogy. The demographics of the audience were 53% female vs. 47% male with 70 percent 25 years of age and over.
Next we have The Witch, which delivered the best opening ever in A24's young history. The film delivered an estimated $8.68 million in its first three days from 2,046 theaters. This is the widest opening for an A24 film by far, with Kevin Smith's Tusk previously owning that distinction, opening in 602 theaters. It's not all sunshine and roses for the film, however, as the "C-" CinemaScore doesn't bode well for the weekend holdover.
On average, films with a "C-" CinemaScore drop over 53% in their second weekend, though horror films tend to have a little better hold, averaging a 51.5% second weekend. There is some precedent for a strong second weekend for a film in this range as 2011's Don't be Afraid of the Dark scored a "C-" upon its $8.5 million opening and dropped only 39% in its sophomore session. That was, however, a long Labor Day weekend, which likely played a role in the film's stronger Sunday hold.
The Witch's second weekend hold could mean the difference between a theatrical run that ends around $19 million and one that attempts to push toward $25+ million. Either way, A24 is already in good shape having purchased distribution rights for the film for only $1 million.
The last of the weekend's new wide releases, Race, finished with an estimated $7.27 million from 2,369 theaters. The Jesse Owens biopic scored the weekend's highest CinemaScore of an "A" and played to an audience that was 51% female vs. 49% male, of which 76% was age 25 years old and up. The film will likely end up somewhere around $20 million, plus-minus a million or so, once all is said and done.
In limited release, Stephen Chow's The Mermaid, made its way stateside this weekend. The film currently stands at a record $419.4 million in China and Sony opened it in a mere 35 domestic theaters this weekend where it grossed an estimated $1.015 million. That makes for a weekend-topping $29,000 per theater average. For some added context, this is the biggest opening day and weekend for a limited release Chinese-language film.
Oscilloscope opened the Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent on Wednesday where it made $11,209 in its first two days from two theaters. The film added one more theater for its opening weekend where it brought in an estimated $50,165, a $16,722 per theater average. Lionsgate released Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer into 357 theaters where it grossed an estimated $900,000 and Fox International released Neerja into 73 theaters where it grossed an estimated $585,315.
Finally, in its expanded release into 540 theaters, Lady in the Van brought in an estimated $1.5 million as the Maggie Smith starrer has now climbed to a $3.8 million cume. Also expanding this weekend, Sony made one last ditch effort to push Spectre over $200 million as it added 293 theaters. The film, however, could only muster an estimated $105,000 from 340 theaters. Its cume now stands at $199.7 million.
Next weekend Deadpool could quite easily make it a third straight #1 finish as incoming competition includes Gods of Egypt opening in over 3,000 theaters along with Eddie the Eagle and Triple 9, both opening in over 2,000 theaters. None of those films look as if they will be able to compete with Deadpool, which will likely bring in $26+ million next weekend.
You can click here for a look at the complete weekend estimates and we'll have weekend actuals for you tomorrow afternoon.