February 20, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Deadpool” Flings Aside “Risen,” “The Witch” & “Race”


None of the weekend’s openings were expected to come near last week’s blockbuster opening, and none will.  The target Christian audience is turning out for RISEN (Affirm/Columbia/Sony), with preliminary numbers at Deadline putting it at $4.25M for Friday.  Given its demographics, Risen should hold well through the weekend, particularly on Sunday, which could give it $13M for its first 3 days, and it faces no on-point competition until its own studio’s Miracles From Heaven a month from now.

THE WITCH (A24) earned $3.25M on Friday, and is likely to be much more frontloaded, both because that’s typical of the horror genre, and in this case, because its odd, slow rhythms and deliberately archaic dialogue may not sit well with horror fans.  Even a $7M weekend, though, would be almost half the total gross of an obvious comparison, last year’s It Follows, which never played quite as widely as Witch‘s 2046-theatre release, and only grossed $14.7M throughout its run.  Witch is the weekend’s cheapest release, with around $10M in combined production and marketing costs, and it could hit profit with relatively low returns.

The Jesse Owens biography RACE (Focus/Universal) is running slowly around the track, hindered by blah reviews (which the studio was clearly expecting, since it didn’t allow any to appear until opening day) to a $2.4M Friday.  Its older audience may help sustain it throughout the weekend, and it could end up not far behind The Witch by Sunday.

All of these paled in comparison with DEADPOOL (Marvel/20th), which continues to set a torrid pace with a $16M Friday, down a reasonable 66% from last week’s opening day.  (The last X-Men, by comparison, fell 74% on its 2d Friday.)   The Sunday-to-Sunday comparison for it, like all holdovers, will reflect last week’s holiday weekend and Valentine’s Day, but Deadpool could still reach $52M for the weekend, which would put it at $232M after 10 days, in the all-time 15-20 in that measure, and by far the highest with an R rating.

KUNG FU PANDA 3 (DreamWorks Animation/20th) is holding strongly, with a $2.8M Friday down just 28% from last week, and headed for a $12M weekend, on its way to $140M+ in the US, about 15% below Panda 2.

Neither of last weekend’s non-Deadpool openings had legs.  HOW TO BE SINGLE (RatPac/MGM/New Line/Warners) fell 50% from last Friday to $2.6M and a likely $8M weekend, on its way to perhaps $50M in the US, far below Valentine’s Day ($110.5M) or He’s Just Not That Into You ($94M).  ZOOLANDER 2 (Paramount) was even worse, down 63% from last Friday to $1.5M, for a weekend that might find its way to $5M and an eventual $35M US total that will need heavy international help to avoid a writedown.

Both STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (Lucasfilm/Disney) and THE REVENANT (RatPac/Regency/20th) are easing their way off the top 10 list, with Fridays under $1M (down 23-24% from last week) and $4M weekends.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."