6TH WRITETHRU, Sunday AM: Refresh for updates.“It’s a Deadpool world and we’re just living in it,” beamed 20th Century Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson this morning. The Marvel anti-hero movie hasn’t calmed down with weekend 2 of $55M and a 10-day total of $235.4M, with a big assist from star Ryan Reynolds, who continues promoting. Yesterday, his satirical Deadpool Kanye-esque rant against Saturday Night Live exec producer Lorne Michaels went viral, clocking 2.4M YouTube views.  ComScore’s PostTrak shows an updated demo breakdown with men comprising most of the audience at 64% and females at 36%. Women love Deadpool almost as much as the guys do, with an 86% positive score to 90%. PLF and Imax contributed 23% of the weekend’s gross.

Deadpool has become more than just a fanboy movie, continuing to bust exit polls with all quads. Even 55+ folks – who PostTrak measures at 18% and who would typically keep away from a superhero movie – are going out of their way to watch Deadpool, and loving it. “He’s a character who is part of the culture,” said Aronson. “People feel that they have to see it, so they don’t miss out.”

Deadpool isn’t the only title that has Fox executives grinning this morning. They’re also claiming the No. 2 title on the weekend chart, DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, as well as Oscar nominee The Revenant toward the bottom of the top 10. In its fourth Saturday, KFP3 is +104% over Friday for an estimated FSS of $12.5M and a running cume of $117.1M.

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Sony Affirm/LD Entertainment’s Risen continued to lord over A24’s The Witch$11.8M to $8.69M for the weekend. Both titles saw slight gains over Friday: Risen was +11% while The Witch, which would normally decline on a Saturday as a horror title, saw a +2% bump. Both titles came in above their projections. Risen is above where War Room started at $11.35M, and Witch isn’t too shabby for a $1M Sundance pick-up by A24.

I’ve heard from rival distrib chiefs this morning that the $8.69M opening for Witch is very impressive. If there was a feathered fish of a movie, it was this. While it smelled like a horror film, it walked like an arthouse title with its old English and period plot, topped off by a crazy ending. Not an easy sell. It wasn’t a ‘people under the bed’ type of horror movie. For a 2,000 release, A24 kept their marketing confined to digital over newspaper buys. Witch played best in the big cities.

A24 is easily heralding The Witch as the best opening in their three-year history. Witch even beats the wide break weekends of Ex Machina ($5.3M) and Spreakbreakers ($4.8M). Should the Robert Eggers-directed film make it to $20M, some insiders say it should break even.

MGM/New Line’s How to Be Single via Warner Bros. made $3.56M Saturday, +31% on its way to an $8.2M second weekend and 10-day haul of $31.76M. PostTrak still shows older women attending this R-rated comedy with 72% female, 63% over 25.

Focus Features’ Jesse Owens biopic Race is ranking 6th with $3.1M on Saturday, +29% over Friday with an opening weekend now projected at $7.3M. One observer told Deadline that Race was drawing applause after a Saturday evening screening at a Cortlandt Manor multiplex north of New York City. Only problem was, there was hardly anyone in the auditorium. Talk about a major disconnect between critics and audiences: Critics thought Race was OK with a 60% fresh rating, but audiences think it’s awesome with an A CinemaScore. As we’ve seen with other A CinemaScore movies with low B.O. starts, great word of mouth won’t work wonders in the long run. In order for Race to have some legs, it needed to post double digit figures.

In marketing Risen, Sony Affirm worked with faith-based leaders from script to editing so that the film could avoid the creative risen 5liberty pitfalls of previous Biblical pic adaptations, i.e. Exodus: Gods and Kings and Noah, both notorious for alienating their core crowds. Sony’s plan worked: Faith Driven Consumer gives Risen an overall 4 1/2 stars in its review with a 5-star rating for Biblical depiction.

Risen has been a labor of love for our studio since its inception. We all worked together with Affirm, with Screen Gems head of marketing Danielle Misher and Affirm SVP Rich Peluso. Every facet along the way, it has been an incredible amount of team work,” said Sony worldwide distribution head Rory Bruer this morning.

Risen has an estimated budget of $20M. The unique sell here is that Risen is told through the eyes of a non-believer and starts at the Crucifixion, where similar-themed movies typically end. Sony launched Risen‘s campaign by trailering on War Room in August. Rough-cut screenings were shown to pastors and influencers in all major markets. Leads Joseph Fiennes (Clavius) and Maria Botto (Mary Magdalene) met Pope Francis in Rome and screened Risen for Vatican leadership and media. There were radio promo screenings in 50 markets and at military bases. To further reach faith-based crowds, the campaign included digital bulletins at The World Meeting of Families event in September to cover the Pope’s visit. Sony ran TV spots during the Republican debates, American Idol and Grey’s Anatomy. Sony’s World label is also having a great weekend with the Stephen Chow China hit The Mermaid stateside which is opening to $1M with a per theater of $29K. Asian-heavy cities stateside were targeted.

the witch 2Most horror films engage their target demos with stunts primed to go viral. For example, 2010’s The Last Exorcism had a great Chat Roulette tie-in where the girl from the film freaked the hell out of those surfing the social site. RelishMix criticizes that The Witch‘s social media push was light, further complicated by the fact that no one in the film has a social presence. Relish weighs Witch‘s social universe at a low 8.6M comprised of 400K Facebook fans, 50K Twitter followers, Instagram 25K followers and 8.1 YouTube views. Despite landing the best reviews of any wide release this weekend, the love didn’t translate to general moviegoers. Thirty-five percent of those leaving the theater told PostTrak that they’d recommend the movie to their friends. Those under 18, who could get in at 7% per CinemaScore, gave Witch its best grades at C+. The arthouse crowd — those over 50 — (12%) gave the New England period title a D, while the 35-49 demo (26%) graded Witch a D+.

Top 10 films and notables per Amanda N’Duka from studio-reported figures as of Sunday AM:

1). Deadpool (FOX), 3,722 theaters (+164) / $16.2M Fri. /$24.4M Sat. (+50%) / $14.4M Sun (-41%) /3-day cume: $55M (-58%)/Total Cume: $235.4M/Wk 2

2). Kung Fu Panda 3 (DWA/FOX), 3,448 theaters (-396) / $2.9M Fri. /$5.8M Sat. (+102%) / $3.8M Sun (-34%) /3-day cume: $12.5M (-37%)/Total cume: $117.1M/ Wk 4

3). Risen (SONY), 2,915 theaters (0) / $4M Fri. /$4.4M Sat. (+10%) / $3.4M Sun (-24%) /3-day cume: $11.8M / Wk 1

4). The Witch (A24), 2,046 theaters / $3.3M Fri. /$3.4M Sat. (+2%) / $2M Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $8.7M/ Wk 1

5). How To Be Single (WB/MGM/New Line), 3,357 theaters (+14) / $2.7M Fri. /$3.6M Sat. (+33%) / $2M Sun (-45%) /3-day cume: $8.2M(-54%)/Total: $31.8M/ Wk 2

6). Race (FOC), 2,369 theaters / $2.4M Fri. /$3.1M Sat. (+29%) / $1.8M Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $7.3M/ Wk 1

7). Zoolander 2 (PAR), 3,418 theaters (+24) / $1.6M Fri./ $2.5M Sat. (+57%) / $1.4M Sun (-42%) /3-day cume: $5.5M (-60%)/Total: $23.7M/ Wk 2

8/9). The Revenant (FOX), 1,939 theaters (-327) / $960K Fri. /$1.8M Sat. (+85%) / $1.1K Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $3.8M (-41%) / Total cume: $165.1M / Wk 9

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 1,618 theaters (-192) / $904K Fri. /$1.8M Sat. (+97%) / $1.15M Sun (-35%) /3-day cume: $3.8M (-38%)/Total cume: $921.6M / Wk 10

10). Hail, Caesar! (UNI), 1,726 theaters (-522)  / $770K Fri. /$1.26M Sat. (+64%) / $605K Sun (-52%) /3-day cume: $2.6M (-59%) /Total cume: $26.1M / Wk 3

 NOTABLES:

Mei Ren Yu (The Mermaid) (SONY) 35 theaters / $320K Fri. /$620K Sat. (+94%) / $360K Sun (-42%) /PTA: $29K/3-day cume: $1M/ Wk 1

Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer (LG) 357 theaters / $270K Fri. /$335K Sat. (+25%) / $266K Sun (-20%) /3-day cume: $868K/ Wk 1

Where to Invade Next (DRAFT), 275 theaters (-33)/ $145K Fri. /$250K Sat. (+72%) / $165K Sun (-34%) /3-day cume: $560K (-42%)/Total fume$2M/Wk 2

Neerja (FOX INT), 73 theaters  / $148k Fri.  /$277K Sat. (+87%) / $160K Sun (-42%) /3-day cume: $585K/ Wk 1

A Violent Prosecutor (DWP), 26 theaters  / $34k Fri.  /$55K Sat. (+65%) / $33K Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $122K/ Wk 1

Embrace of the Serpent (OCL), 3 theaters / $15KFri.  /$25K Sat. (+62%) / $10.2M Sun (-59%) /3-day cume: $50k /PTA: $17K/ Total cume: $61K /Wk 1

OSCAR NOMS:

 The Big Short (PAR), 432 theaters (-103)  / $219K Fri. /$410K Sat. (+88%) / $246K Sun (-40%) /3-day cume: $875K (-35%) /Total cume: $67.1M /Wk 11

Brooklyn (FSL), 443 theaters (-52) / $193K Fri. /$341K Sat. (+77%) / $194K Sun (-43%) /3-day cume: $728K (-33%)/Total cume:$35.3M/ Wk 16

Spotlight (OR), 401 theaters (-54) / $119K Fri. /$229K Sat. (+18%) / $145K Sun (-35%) /3-day cume: $484K (-31%)/ Total cume: $38.1M / Wk 16

Room (A24), 352 theaters (+36)  /3-day cume: $417K (-7%)/Total cume:$12.66M/ Wk 19

4th WRITETHRU, Saturday 8AM: Chart updated By the end of this weekend, Deadpool will have grossed an estimated $236.9M after two weeks in release. Guardians of the Galaxy, a Marvel superhero film that also broke the mold, didn’t reach that point until the middle of its fourth week (and that movie had the benefit of summer crowds). Deadpool collected $16.2M yesterday, on its way to a second weekend of $56.5M (per industry calculations), -58% from its record February opening. Today, Deadpool passes $200M stateside.

Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation/Fox’s Kung Fu Panda 3, which is drawing an estimated $13.2M in No. 2, is keeping the God and Devil movies subdued in spots three and four, with Sony Affirm/LD Entertainment’s Risen having the upper hand over A24’s The Witch, $11.5M to $8.3M. Nevertheless, both titles are outperforming their tracking projections. Risen was expected to bring in $10M over FSS at 2,915 theaters, while The Witch was trending between $5M-$6M at 2,046. Focus Features’ Race is looking at a weekend of $7M in sixth place at 2,369 sites. CinemaScore audiences were in a great mood last night giving Race a solid A and Risen an A-.

Could Deadpool topple The Passion Of The Christ ($370.8M) to become the top-grossing R-rated film of all-time? The Tim Miller-directed superhero movie thru Sunday will be running 11% ahead of Mel Gibson’s New Testament title through its second weekend. Yeah, it’s an apples to oranges comparison given the discrepancy between the two titles’ crowds. Passion reaped seven weekends of double-digit million dollar grosses from the Lenten faithful back in 2004. A Friday Imax matinee at Edwards Valencia Cinema, 30 minutes north of Hollywood, drew mostly couples to the raunchy Marvel film. But there’s a lot of back-to-back franchise competition this spring. Just look at what’s standing in Deadpool‘s way: London Has Fallen, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Divergent Series: Allegiant and Batman v. Superman. With all these brand titles, you’d think it was summer. Many in the business feel $350M is within reach for Deadpool, which would put it nose-to-nose with American Sniper, the second highest grossing R-rated film at the domestic B.O.

Deadpool’s social heat according to RelishMix remains higher than any of this weekend’s new titles. In the last week, Deadpool’s Facebook page has added 1.6M fans.  Twitter and Instagram hashtags #Deadpool were strong during the week at 30K, which is good for a film in its second weekend. A Facebook 360-degree video on the Deadpool page drew 310K likes, which is huge, and over 10.5M views. The film currently counts over 36M YouTube views. RelishMix also reports that social WOM remains positive with fans talking about the film’s jokes and ideas for a potential sequel.

risenRisen, directed by Waterworld’s Kevin Reynolds, carries a $20M estimated production cost. Despite opening lower than the $22.5M posted by Sony’s 2014 Lent title Heaven Is For Real (based on a New York Times bestseller), rival distribution suits are confident that Risen will perform strong throughout February and March. PostTrak showed older women in abundance yesterday at 55% femmes and 89% over 25. CinemaScore also shows a similar demo breakdown. Seventy-two percent of the audience said they’d recommend it to friends according to PostTrak. Critics are mixed on Risen at a pretty rotten 59% at Rotten Tomatoes, but it seems to have more believers among reviewers than Passion of The Christ did at 49%.

risen kitSome of Risen’s promotions have included Christian radio screenings as well as $40 sermon kits that parishes can buy. Each kit contains video clips and resources to launch a sermon series during the Easter season. RelishMix noticed that Sony is offering group sales to churches and other community organizations. Risen’s official social pages also have endorsements from pastors with large followings who have given the film high praise. The social media universe for Risen is moderate at 28.5M. Despite the cast’s lack of social activity, Joseph Fiennes has been promoting the film and giving interviews with Christian publications and YouTube channels.

There’s been some interesting conversation surrounding The Witch all week. A24 acquired the film out of Sundance a year ago for $1M. Apparently, the film was suppose to start on DirectTV VOD before hitting the the witchtheaters, but the distributor opted for a wide release followed by a VOD window in 90 days. There was a screening at the Satanic Temple in Hollywood and an endorsement by that group which generated national headlines. Critics hugged this 1630s New England horror film with a 88% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. But Friday night audiences branded Witch with a C- CinemaScore. PostTrak also reported a very low audience approval rate at 55% positive. Only 41% of those who sat through the movie said they’d give it a thumbs up to a friend. Older males made up the majority at 59% guys, 55% over 25. CinemaScore also shows men at 54%, 71% over 25. However, females at 46%, couldn’t stand The Witch with a D+.

A24 has said that it’s keeping Witch at a nominal P&A. They went after a narrow target via digital ads and minimal TV. However, phone calls have poured in from rival studios saying that to pull off a modest wide release of this magnitude, P&A typically resides north of $8M. (Breaking that down, prints are $2M and creative materials $1M for any small film; that puts you at $3M before any media spend which can be north of $5M). Some have even cried that the P&A is $14M. However, despite all the hoopla on what Witch‘s P&A is, I’m told $8.3M is a decent start for this film. A C- CinemaScore carries a 2.3 multiple, so if Witch‘s projections stay in line, it could final at $20M. Last March, Radius’ It Follows was the ‘it’ horror film and Witch will have already made 57% of that film’s entire domestic gross by Sunday ($14.67M).

race iiAnd as far as the assessment for Race, it’s meh. There was a lot of heat when this film went into production as it was the first Jesse Owens biopic to breakthrough and actually get a greenlight. And how could one not get excited about the story of an African-American Olympic sprinter who crushed Adolf Hitler’s theory on Aryan supremacy? When Race moved ahead in July 2014, it was more than a year after Warner Bros. had minted $95M at the domestic B.O. with the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. Auds have continually come out for sports dramas about overcoming hurdles (in fact 20th Century Fox has a sublime one next weekend with Eddie the Eagle). Still, when it comes to adult dramas like Race, your reviews need to be through the roof and this title arrives with a middling 61% score (by comparison Creed had 94%). Demo breakdown per PostTrak for Race is 45% Caucasian and 38% African American. Men made up 52% of the audience with 73% over 25. CinemaScore shows more females showing up at 52% (they gave it an A+ along with the under 18ers). Time‘s Stephanie Zacharek griped, “Where is Owens in all of this? By the end of Race, we don’t know much more about him as an individual than we did when the movie began,” while the Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern damned with faint praise: “It’s a saga of unquenchable spirit and fast-twitch muscles shot in slow-twitch style.”

The top 10 films per industry estimates as of Saturday AM for the weekend of Feb. 19-21:

1). Deadpool (FOX), 3,722 theaters (+164) / $16.2M Fri. (-66%) /3-day cume: $56.5M (-57%)/Total Cume: $236.9M/Wk 2

2). Kung Fu Panda 3 (DWA/FOX), 3,448 theaters (-396) / $2.8M Fri. (-28%)/3-day cume: $13.2M (-33%)/Total cume: $117.8M/ Wk 4

3). Risen (SONY), 2,915 theaters (0) / $4M Fri.  /3-day cume: $11.5M / Wk 1

4). The Witch (A24), 2,046 theaters / $3.2M Fri. /3-day cume: $8.3M/ Wk 1

5). How To Be Single (WB/MGM/New Line), 3,357 theaters (+14) / $2.67M Fri. (-50%) /3-day cume: $8M (-55%)/Total: $31.5M/ Wk 2

6). Race (FOC), 2,369 theaters / $2.3M Fri. /3-day cume: $7M/ Wk 1

7). Zoolander 2 (PAR), 3,418 theaters (+24) / $1.58M Fri. (-63%) /3-day cume: $5.38M (-61%)/Total: $23.6M/ Wk 2

8.) The Revenant (FOX), 1,939 theaters (-327) / $955K Fri. (-26%) / 3-day cume: $3.8M (-42%) / Total cume: $165.1M / Wk 9

9.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (DIS), 1,618 theaters (-192) / $906K Fri. (-24%) /3-day cume: $3.7M (-40%)/Total cume: $921.5M / Wk 10

10). Hail, Caesar! (UNI), 1,726 theaters (-522)  / $764K Fri. (-48%) /3-day cume: $2.6M (-60%) /Total cume: $26M / Wk 3

NOTABLES:

Mei Ren Yu (The Mermaid) (SONY) 35 theaters / $361K Fri. /3-day cume: $1.1M/PTA: $32K/ Wk 1

Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer (LG) 357 theaters / $269K Fri. /3-day cume: $886K/ Wk 1

Where to Invade Next (DRAFT), 275 theaters (-33)/ $142K Fri. (-44%) /3-day cume: $517K (-42%)/Total:$1.9M/Wk 2

Neerja (FOX INT), 73 theaters  / $148k Fri.  /3-day cume: $480K/ Wk 1

Embrace of the Serpent (OCL), 6 theaters (0) / $15kFri.  /3-day cume: $46k /PTA: $8K/ Wk 1

OSCAR NOMS:

 The Big Short (PAR), 432 theaters (-103)  / $215K Fri. (-24%) /3-day cume: $830K (-38%) /Total cume: $67.1M /Wk 11

Brooklyn (FSL), 443 theaters (-52) / $194K Fri. (-17%) /3-day cume: $737K (-32%)/Total cume:$35.3M/ Wk 16

Spotlight (OR), 401 theaters (-54) / $119K Fri. (-19%) /3-day cume: $482K (-31%)/ Total cume: $38.1M / Wk 16

Carol (TWC), 101 theaters  (-40)/ $26K Fri. (-30%) /3-day cume: $93K (-43%)/Total cume: $12.3M/ Wk 14

2nd UPDATE, 12:13 PM: 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool is staying in sync with its projections with a second No. 1 weekend of $55 million-$60 million coming off of what looks to be a second Friday of $15M, according to industry estimates. That daily total is off 68% from its record February opening day of $47.3M, but know that figure was boosted by $12.7M Thursday previews. So, the Friday-to-Friday decline is really at 57%.

Sony Affirm’s Bible epic Risen and A24’s unholy The Witch are both looking at Friday takes of $4M. Both Jesus- and Satan-inspired movies are looking at a photo finish between $10M-$11M over three days. Some give Risen the upper hand in the rankings as horror films like Witch tend to be front-loaded on a a Friday. Meanwhile, the weekend’s third wide entry, Focus Features’ Race, is projected to have a $3M Friday and a $8.5M FSS.

UPDATE: In a weekend that will be dominated again by 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool, many have described the next three days as a B.O. battle between heaven and hell with Sony Affirm’s sword-and-sandal film Risen going head-to-head with A24’s period art house horror film The Witch in wide release. Last night, The Witch clocked $630K, while Risen took in $425K. One title was screened at the Vatican, while the other has the endorsement of the Satanic temple.

The Witch has the best reviews of this weekend’s wide entries with an 89% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score. Tracking has The Witch between $5M-$6M at approximately 2,000 engagements, but it could be pacing alongside Risen. Wouldn’t that be fun to watch? Tipping a hat to Witch, the film made more money on fewer screens last night than Risen: 1,600 to 2,329. Granted The Witch likely skewed younger than Risen, even though the film has a R-rating. A24 acquired the Robert Eggers movie at Sundance 2015 for $1M. Sometimes, A24 titles hit DirectTV before they hit the screen, but in this case, the distributor bypassed that outlet and opted for a 2,000-screen run. In 90 days, the plan is for The Witch to hit VOD. Deadline is told that the P&A is nominal, focusing on digital and some TV.

RisenTracking has Risen with at least $10M this weekend, maybe more. Directed by Hatfields & McCoys and Waterworld‘s Kevin Reynolds, Risen tells the story of an agnostic Roman Centurion who investigates the rumors of the risen Christ post-crucifixion. Given the Lenten season, the expectation is that this movie, which stars Joseph Fiennes, will be a sleeper. Sony/TriStar surprised us in the twilight of last summer with the $3M faith-based title War Room which made close to $68M and ruled the Labor Day weekend box office at No. 1. Sony Affirm screened Risen at the Vatican earlier this month, with Fiennes meeting Pope Francis. Faith Driven Consumer has blessed Risen with a four-and-half-star rating.

RaceDeadpool was, of course, the top title last night with an estimated $8M at 3,558 theaters and a week’s cume of $180.4M. It will no doubt fly past the $200M mark by Saturday. Projections for the Marvel anti-hero’s sophomore session is between $55M-$60M.

On Fandango, Deadpool is currently selling three times as many tickets on a daily basis as any other film opening in theaters, and represents more than 50% of weekend sales.

Also opening today is Focus Features’ Jesse Owens biopic Race which should do in the high single digits over FSS. The Stephen Hopkins-directed film made $205K last night from 1,800 locations.