12:52 PM PST 2/19/2016 by Pamela McClintock
Ryan Reynolds’ superhero movie will zoom past $200 million on Saturday; also opening this weekend opposite ‘Risen’ and ‘The Witch’ is Jesse Owens’ biopic ‘Race.’
A battle for heaven and earth is underway at the box office.
Blockbuster Deadpool is having no trouble staying atop the box office in its second weekend, where it’s easily crushing Biblical resurrection tale Risen and The Witch, the critically acclaimed period horror film endorsed by the Satanic Temple.
Deadpool earned $16.2 million from Friday’s 3,277 theaters for a projected $55 million weekend, a respectable 58 percent decline. On Saturday, Ryan Reynolds’ audacious superhero movie will race past the $200 million mark in North America, its ninth day in release and faster than any R-rated title in history. And by the end of the weekend, the Fox movie could clear $400 million globally, including $235 million in North America.
Risen, starring Joseph Fiennes as a powerful Roman military tribune tasked with investigating reports of Jesus’ resurrection, hopes to beat Kung Fu Panda 3 for the No. 2 spot, but it’s going to be close. Risen earned $4 million for a projected $12 million weekend.
Directed by Waterworld‘s Kevin Reynolds, Risen, hitting theaters in the midst of Lent, is relying on faith-based moviegoers to make its mark at the box office, where Sony’s faith-based label, Affirm, is rolling the film out in 2,915 locations, a wide footprint. Affirm made the $20 million movie with LD Entertainment. Tom Felton also stars.
The Witch 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. The horror film, set in the 17th Century New England, 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 R-rated horror outing for a modest $1 million and originally intended to make The Witch quickly available on VOD. But they decided to give The Witch a traditional theatrical release in 2,046 theaters thanks to strong buzz resulting from reviews. The cast includes up-and-coming actress Anya Taylor-Joy.
A24 contends 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 is Jesse Owens biopic Race, which Focus Features is taking out in 2,369 locations. The movie, earning $2.3 million Friday, is pacing to gross $6.8 million for the weekend. It’s the first of several planned biopics about Owens to hit theaters.
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.