Sunday Update: Fox's Deadpool easily remained in first place at the box office this weekend with an estimated $55.0 million. The Ryan Reynolds led antihero film was down a sharp 58 percent from last weekend, as exceptional word of mouth wasn't enough to offset initial fan-driven front-loading. With that said, Deadpool held up better than 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, which fell 64 percent in its second weekend to gross $32.55 million. In general, X-Men universe films have tended to experience very sharp second weekend declines. In the bigger picture, the relatively modestly budgeted Deadpool has already grossed a massive $235.39 million in just ten days of release. That is a very impressive 45 percent stronger than the $162.02 million ten-day take of Days of Future Past (which also had the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions; something that Deadpool doesn't have). Without taking into account ticket price inflation, Deadpool is already the highest grossing X-Men universe film of all-time domestically, as it has passed the $234.36 million total gross of 2006's X-Men the Last Stand.
Fellow Fox release Kung Fu Panda 3 held steady in a distant second place with an estimated $12.5 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from DreamWorks Animation was down a solid 37 percent from last weekend. Kung Fu Panda 3 has grossed $117.10 million through 24 days of release. That places Kung Fu Panda 3 14 percent behind the $136.81 million 24-day take of last year's Hotel Transylvania 2 (which fell 38 percent in its fourth weekend to gross a similar $12.65 million). Kung Fu Panda 3 is likely to hold up well next weekend, before taking a hit the following weekend from the arrival of Disney's Zootopia on March 4.
Risen was the weekend's top new release with an estimated third place debut of $11.8 million. The faith-based film from Sony's AFFIRM Films label starring Joseph Fiennes was off to a solid start, as it opened on the high end of expectations. Compared to previous films from AFFIRM Films, Risen opened 41 percent ahead of the $8.38 million debut of 2014's When the Game Stands Tall and 4 percent ahead of the $11.35 million start of last year's War Room. Due in part to the faith-based competition the film will be facing in March, it seems likely that Risen will display holding power more similar to When the Game Stands Tall than War Room, but that remains to be seen. Risen opened with $4.02 million on Friday (which included an estimated $425,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 10 percent on Saturday to gross $4.43 million and is estimated to decline 24 percent on Sunday to gross $3.36 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.94 to 1. Risen received a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore and has a very solid 80 percent Flixster audience score.
The Witch debuted in fourth place with an estimated $8.69 million. A24's low-budget R-rated horror film opened on the high end of expectations and performed very nicely with its price tag in mind. The Witch benefited from its strong critical reviews, as the film currently boasts an 88 percent Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes. However, The Witch doesn't appear to be going over anywhere near as well with moviegoers, as the film received a soft C- rating on CinemaScore and currently has a Flixster audience score of just 54 percent. Regardless of how well the film ultimately holds up going forward, The Witch generated a healthy opening weekend performance for A24 as the distributor's first traditional opening weekend wide release. The Witch opened with $3.29 million on Friday (which included an estimated $630,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 2 percent on Saturday to gross $3.37 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $2.02 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.64 to 1.
Warner's How to Be Single rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $8.22 million. The romantic comedy from New Line and MGM featuring Dakota Johnson was down 54 percent from last weekend. That represented a very respectable second weekend hold; especially given that last weekend's performance was inflated from Valentine's Day falling on Sunday. How to Be Single has grossed $31.76 million in ten days. That is towards the higher end of expectations and places the film 16 percent ahead of the $27.38 million ten-day start of 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic (which fell 55 percent in its second weekend to gross $6.74 million).
Race debuted in sixth place with an estimated $7.28 million. Focus' Jesse Owens biopic opened a bit below its modest expectations and 34 percent below the $11.02 million start of McFarland, USA over the same weekend last year. Race opened with $2.37 million on Friday (which included an estimated $205,000 from Thursday night shows), was up a healthy 29 percent on Saturday to gross $3.07 million and is estimated to fall 40 percent on Sunday to gross $1.84 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.07 to 1. Race will hope to hold up well going forward thanks in part to skewing heavily towards older moviegoers (76 percent of the film's audiences was 25 years and older) and in part to strong early word of mouth (the film received a very promising A rating on CinemaScore and boasts a current Flixster audience score of 83 percent).
Meanwhile, Paramount's Zoolander 2 continued its disappointing run with an estimated seventh place take of $5.50 million. The PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson was down a very sharp 60 percent from last weekend. Zoolander 2 has grossed just $23.72 million in ten days, which places the film an underwhelming 16 percent behind the unadjusted $28.34 million ten-day take of 2001's Zoolander (which fell 39 percent in its second weekend to gross $9.52 million). Zoolander 2 should continue to fall off quickly going forward due in part to poor word of mouth among moviegoers.
Saturday Update: Fox reports that Deadpool grabbed another $16.225 million on Friday, down an expected 66 percent from opening day last week. Strong word of mouth and reviews continue to propel the Merc with a Mouth's unexpected blockbuster run as it now stands at an impressive eight-day domestic total of $196.6 million -- 34 percent ahead of the pace of Guardians of the Galaxy and 42 percent ahead of X-Men: Days of Future Past. We're projecting a huge sophomore frame around $56.1 million, which should send it past The LEGO Movie ($49.85 million) as the biggest second weekend by any film in February history.
Risen debuted in a healthy second place yesterday with an estimated $4.0 million, per Sony. This marks the latest faith-based success story for the studio following their success with War Room last year (which bowed to a near identical $4.05 million opening day in August). It also handily topped the $2.4 million opening day of 2014's Left Behind. Word of mouth is healthy with a reported "A-" CinemaScore and a solid 79 percent Flixster score. With Easter coming up in March, we expect strong legs on this one following what looks to be a weekend close to $11.5 million or higher (Sony is projecting $12.0 million).
A24's The Witch opened to a solid $3.2 million yesterday from 2,046 locations, giving it the highest per-theater average among wide releases not named Deadpool. The horror flick has been on the positive end of strong buzz for the past few months thanks to strong critical reviews (currently 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Flixster reception seems more mixed at 59 percent, indicating some divisive reactions due to the controversial subject matter of the film. Still, this is definitely a positive debut for the film and first-time director Robert Eggers. Horror fans could conceivably drive the film to a fair multiplier in the long run. BoxOffice projects an opening weekend around $9 million.
Kung Fu Panda 3 took fourth place with $2.875 million on Friday, bringing its domestic haul up to $107.48 million. The animated sequel continues to play very well among families with positive word of mouth and reviews. BoxOffice projects a strong fourth weekend near $14.8 million.
How to Be Single filled out the top five with $2.685 million yesterday, down a healthy 49 percent from opening day last week. The Valentine's release is proving to remain a solid choice for date night crowds as it now stands at $26.2 million in all after eight days. Look for a sophomore weekend around $8.9 million.
Meanwhile, Race debuted with $2.344 million in sixth place on Friday, unfortunately coming in on the low end of pre-release expectations. Word of mouth (76 percent) and reviews (61 percent) are mixed, so long-term potential isn't strong at the moment. Opening weekend should ring up around $7.2 million.
Landing outside the top five, The Revenant tacked on another $955,000 for a new total of $162.3 million. The 12-time Oscar nominee is aiming for a weekend around $3.8 million. Last but not least, Star Wars: The Force Awakens should score another weekend of $4.1 million following $904,000 on Friday; its all-time record total now stands at a massive $918.7 million.
Friday Update: Sources report that Thursday night's openers were led by A24's The Witch with an estimated $630,000 -- a very good start for the strongly reviewed horror film. By comparison, it bested The Forest's $520,000 start last month. With positive reviews and word of mouth from genre fans, The Witch may be looking at an impressive opening weekend north of $10-11 million if it plays out similar to recent horror films.
Risen bowed to $425,000 last night, marking the latest faith-based film to hit theaters. While that falls a bit shy of War Room's $600,000 last August, solid word of mouth and Easter next month could translate to strong legs.
Meanwhile, Race took in $205,000 last night. The Jesse Owens biopic came in slightly behind McFarland, USA's $260,000 last February.
Ultimately, Deadpool will easily win the weekend box office again following its stunning debut last week and strong reception since. We'll update with further analysis and weekend estimates on Saturday morning once the studios report official Friday estimates.