By Saturday, 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool will cross $200M, nine days after its release. That will set a record for an R-rated film to clip that mark, beating pics that include 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded, which took 11 days to hit $200M, and 2004’s The Passion of the Christ (12 days). Industry estimates have Deadpool declining close to 60% in its second sesh with $55M. This film has surprised us at every turn, so it won’t be jaw-dropping if it beats those figures.
It’s Lent, which means it’s primetime for faith-based films. Sony Affirm and LD Entertainment have Risen, an interesting sword-and-sandal movie from Hatfields & McCoys and Waterworld director Kevin Reynolds. Made for an estimated $20M, the film stars Joseph Fiennes as an agnostic Roman Centurian who is charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate rumors of a risen Jewish messiah and locate the missing deceased body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to quell an imminent uprising in Jerusalem. Tracking services have this film in the high single digits at 2,912 venues, but non-Sony analysts not only believe that Risen will be a sleeper during the pre-Easter season but potentially can do $14M over FSS. Sony is expecting $10M
$5M-$7M. Thursday previews start at 7PM. Sony produced a huge cash cow last summer with TriStar’s $3M-budgeted faith-based title War Room, which churned out $67.8M.
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Focus Features’ Jesse Owens biopic Race finally hits screens and is expected to make high single digits to low double digits. The film tells the story of the Olympic sprinter who ruined Hitler’s plans to showcase the superiority of German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Focus acquired distribution rights back in July 2014. At the time, a number of other Owens projects from Disney and Relativity were trying to get off the ground, and Race made it to the start line first. Stephen James stars as Owens and Jason Sudeikis as his obsessive coach and mentor Larry Snyder, who, after a prestigious track career himself, became a coach at Ohio State University. Snyder coached athletes who set 14 world records and won eight Olympic gold medals. Previews start Thursday. Race will play in an estimated 2,300 theaters. No Rotten Tomatoes score yet.
Last among wide entries is The Witch, A24’s period horror film that is going out in 1,800 locations. Tracking shows it at $5M-$6M. Home entertainment will hit in 90 days for the feature directorial debut of Robert Eggers. Set in 1630s New England, Witch follows a family that is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession. A24 bought the movie at Sundance for $1M last year. P&A has been targeted specifically toward horror aficionados at what we’re told is a nominal expense with a digital reach. The 52 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes have Witch with a fresh 87% score. Stephen King this week endorsed Witch to his 1.3M Twitter followers:
Last weekend’s counterprogramming, New Line/MGM/Warner Bros.’ How to Be Single and Paramount’s Zoolander 2, not only will continue to be impacted by Deadpool’s domination but also by the post-holiday blues. Sunday was Valentine’s Day, so this Sunday’s overall business will be down by 75%, taking a toll on these female-skewing movies. Industry calculations show HTBS at $7.5M-$8M, down 55%-58%, while Zoolander 2 will slide to $5M-$5.5M, a drop of 60%-64%.
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