"Deadpool" once again beat down the competition at cinemas across North America, while Lionsgate's "Gods of Egypt" fell flat, becoming one of the biggest box office misfires this year.
The saucy R-rated superhero comedy claimed its third straight week atop the box office with a weekend-long haul of $31.5 million in ticket sales for the U.S. and Canada, according to comScore.
The Ryan Reynolds film, which offered a bawdier and more libertine take on comic book fare, has beaten even Fox's upbeat predictions to become one of the year's strongest performers. This weekend brought its total estimated gross up to $285.6 million, with a Sunday estimate of $8.35 million.
However, "Deadpools'" job wasn't so difficult this week. Its main competition, Lionsgate's "Gods of Egypt" pulled in just $14 million at the domestic box office, an especially tepid debut for a movie that cost $140 million to make.
The film starring Gerard Butler had initially been planned as the start of a franchise to replace "The Hunger Games" and "The Twilight Saga." But after controversy over its casting choices (placing white leads in ancient Egypt) the film arrived with sour buzz.
"Gods of Egypt" came in a distant second behind "Deadpool," with a Sunday take of $3.66 million, far below early hopes for the major-budget film.
A representative for Lionsgate said, in a statement to The Times, "Our strong financial model on 'Gods of Egypt' allowed us to take a big swing in hopes of creating a new franchise with very little risk. Though the film isn't doing as well as we hoped domestically, it's off to a strong start internationally and our downside is very limited."
Though Lionsgate has reduced its vulnerabilities on the film through tax breaks and pre-sold foreign rights, the weak box office results put more pressure on the Santa Monica studio. The company's stock price has tumbled since the release of the last of the "Hunger Games" installments in November and after it reported worse-than-expected quarterly earnings this month. Lionsgate executives have high hopes for other films on the studio's slate, including the upcoming release "Allegiant," the third film in its successful "Divergent" series.
DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda 3," distributed by Fox, landed in third place with $9 million in ticket sales and $128.5 million to date in domestic ticket sales, according to comScore.
Sony's "Risen," starring Joseph Fiennes, continued to attract faith-based audiences in its second weekend and came in fourth place with $7 million.
For the other newcomers, Fox's "Eddie the Eagle" brought in $6.3 million over the weekend, good enough for 5th place.
The heist caper "Triple 9" came with stronger notices for its top-shelf cast (Chewitel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Kate Winslet, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson and Norman Reedus). But the Open Road film looks to be a little slower out of the gate than expected, with a weekend gross of $6.1 million that notches it at sixth place for the weekend.
Nominees for best picture at this weekend's Oscars saw notable reinforcement at the mutiplex. "The Revenant" pulled in $3.8 million in its tenth weekend in release, bringing its total gross to $170.5 million. "The Big Short" pulled $1 million in its 12th week for a $85.5-million gross, while "Spotlight" was up 51% for $788,000 in its 17th weekend in release, with a $39.2-million gross.
"Brooklyn," also in its 17th week, brought in $735,000 for a $36.5-million gross, while A24's "Room" saw a very impressive 59% gain that was good for $650,000 over the weekend and a $13.54-million gross, comScore said.