Deadpool was still tearing up the box office this weekend, earning $55 million in its second weekend of release, with everything else playing for second place. Well, third place, actually, since Kung Fu Panda 3 landed at number two. This was actually an interesting weekend, one that saw the release of a film about “the manhunt” for Jesus, a horror movie for history majors that was endorsed by the Satanic Temple, and a sort of utilitarian Jesse Owens biopic. Of the three, perhaps not surprisingly, it was Jesus that came out on top.
Risen earned an estimated $11.8 million in domestic box office, just shy of half the opening of Exodus: Gods And Kings, which cost $140 million to make. Risen cost just $20 million. It also received an A- Cinemascore and was, I thought, reasonably decent. At the very least, it’s expanding the possibilities of what “faith-based” film can be in the modern era.
On the other end of the spectrum was The Witch, which received the all-important Satanic Temple endorsement. It actually felt aimed more at lovers of historical accuracy than anyone else, and despite that being a somewhat narrow market, it earned $8.685 million in 2,046 theaters. Analysts expect it to top Room and Spring Breakers to become A24’s second-biggest release, and may even challenge Ex Machina‘s $25 million. Not bad for a film that received a C- Cinemascore, tying Hail, Caesar! for lowest of the year. That’s not a surprise: Even I had to admit that The Witch wasn’t exactly a fun watch, and I am that target audience.
Bringing up the rear was Race, which was exactly the kind of biopic that gets released in February (i.e., one without realistic awards chances). Race earned $7.275 million for the weekend, which isn’t half bad considering it “allegedly” only cost $5 million to make. It received an A Cinemascore to contrast its 61% recommended rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Finally there was Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, opening in just 35 theaters after grossing $400 million in China, China’s biggest ever. That made $1.02 million in the US, for a solid $29,000 per screen average. This one sounds bonkers, by the way: