Globally, ‘Deadpool’ has earned an astounding $491.7 million; ‘Risen’ and ‘The Witch’ open opposite Jesse Owens biopic ‘Race’ in North America.
Deadpool easily won the battle for heaven and earth at the North American box office in its second outing, earning a sizable $55 million from 3,277 theaters to trounce biblical resurrection tale Risen and the demonic-laced The Witch.
On Saturday, Ryan Reynolds’ audacious superhero movie raced past the $200 million mark, its ninth day in release and faster than any R-rated title in history, for a domestic total of $235.4 million through Sunday.
Overseas, Deadpool earned $85 million in its second outing for a foreign cume of $256.3 million and stunning worldwide haul of $491.7 million. The movie is now destined to become the top-R rated title in history, eclipsing The Matrix Reloaded ($742.1 million), not accounting for inflation. Domestically, it’s already passed up Fifty Shades of Grey ($166.2 million). Fifty Shades, released a year ago, grossed $571 million globally.
In South Korea, the film opened to $12.1 million, the biggest opening of all time for a title with an 18+ rating and the second biggest ever for Fox. And the movie’s cume in the U.K. has swelled to $36.9 million.
“Deadpool has become a cultural phenomenon with all audiences that is resonating across the globe,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson.
Among the new openings in North America, Risen did the most, earning $11.8 million from 2,915 locations to claim one of the top debuts ever for a faith-based title after The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million), Son of God ($25.6 million) and Heaven Is for Real ($24 million).
Directed by Waterworld‘s Kevin Reynolds, Risen hits theaters in the midst of Lent after a major faith-based marketing push that included screening the movie at the Vatican, where stars Joseph Fiennes — who plays a powerful Roman military tribune tasked with investigating reports of Jesus’ resurrection — and Tom Felton met with Pope Francis.
Sony’s label, Affirm, made the $20 million movie with LD Entertainment. “This is a genre we’re embracing,” said Rory Bruer, distribution chief for Sony, also home of Heaven Is Real and the upcoming Miracles From Heaven. “These films are resonating with faith-based audiences; we are making sure the word is getting out to churches. We believe this film will play and play through Easter.”
The film has two more weekends to itself before The Young Messiah debuts March 11, followed a week later by Miracles From Heaven.
Risen wasn’t able to beat Kung Fu Panda 3, however, for the No. 2 spot and instead settled for No. 3. Showing staying power, Panda 3 stayed at No. 2 with $12.5 million for a domestic total of $117.1 million.
Another animated offering, Disney Animation’s Zootopia, continued to impress overseas, where it’s rolling out ahead of its March 4 domestic launch. Zootopia grossed $31.2 million from 22 territories for an early foreign tally of $39 million. Among other highlights, it boasts the highest Disney animated opening in France with a hefty $9.2 million.
In North America, The Witch placed No. 4 with $8.7 million from 2,046 theaters — the top opening in A24’s young history. The R-rated horror film, endorsed by the Satanic Temple, opens a little over a year after it made waves at the Sundance Film Festival, earning first time feature director Robert Eggers the directing award in the dramatic category.
Set in 17th century New England, The Witch tells the story of a Puritan family encountering evil. It grossed $3.2 million Friday for a projected $8 million opening.
A24 and DirecTV partnered in picking up domestic rights to The Witch for a modest $1 million and originally intended to make the film available first on VOD. But they decided to give The Witch a traditional theatrical release in 2,046 theaters thanks to strong buzz. The cast includes up-and-coming actress Anya Taylor-Joy.
“Coming out of Sundance, it was branded as a new horror classic so we decided to wide from day one,” said Shapiro, distribution chief Heath Shapiro.
Other A24 insiders say any opening over $4 million would be a victory, considering it made only a modest marketing spend, and far less than the minimum $20 million required for a nationwide release.
Going after adults this weekend was the Jesse Owens biopic, Race, which debuted to a subdued $7.3 million-plus from 2,369 locations. From Focus Features, the movie is the first of several planned biopics about Owens to hit theaters.
The good news: Race earned an A CinemaScore, the best of the three new films. Risen earned an A- CinemaScore, while The Witch garnered a C- (not unusual for a horror title).
Stephen Hopkins directed Race. Stephan James stars as Owens, who overcame adversity to win four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Germany, where he was confronted with Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten and William Hurt also star.
Race came in No. 6 after How to Be Single, which rounded out the top five in its second weekend with $8.2 million from 3,357 locations for a domestic total of $31.8 million. Overseas, the R-rated romantic comedy took in $10.9 million from 50 markets for a foreign cume of $24.1 million and a global total of $55.9 million.
Ben Stiller’s sequel Zoolander 2 continued to struggle, tumbling 60 percent in its second outing to $5.5 million for a domestic total of $23.7 million. Overseas, it added $4.8 million for a $17.1 million foreign total and worldwide cume of $40.8 million.
Ethan and Joel Coen’s Hail, Caesar! began its international run, grossing $5.8 million from 27 markets for a worldwide cume of $31.9 million. In the U.S., it fell to No. 10 in its third weekend with $2.6 million for a tepid domestic total of $26 million. France was the top opener offshore with $2.1 million.
Among limited offerings in the U.S., Sony opened Chinese blockbuster The Mermaid in 35 theaters to strong results. The film — the top-grossing film of all time in China with $419 million — grossed $1 million for a location average of $29,000, the best of the weekend.
Feb. 21, 9:30 a.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the top-grossing R-rated title of all time. THR regrets the error.