The startlingly intense Puritan period piece The Witch put a spell on moviegoers as it managed to bewitch them for $8.6 million, almost nine times its modest budget. Notable for Eggers’s meticulous research and commitment to authentic details, the 2015 Sundance sensation has earned rave reviews from critics, but a grade of C- on CinemaScore suggests that viewers may not agree with the critics. Coming in ahead of The Witch is Deadpool, which predictably continued its rampage of box-office domination. It made $55 million for a domestic cume of $235.3 million. Kung Fu Panda 3 kung-fu’d its way to another $12.5 million, for a $117.1 million cume, and the faith-based Risen, which is basically the antithesis of The Witch, and which had a budget 20 times bigger, made $11.8 million its opening weekend.
The overlooked gem The Mermaid made a little over $1 million on 35 screens its opening weekend, while the Jesse Owens biopic Race earned $7.2 million, less than one-third of its initial expected performance.