Evil Dead Rise Summons A Diabolical $23 Million+ From Opening Weekend Box Office

Klaatu ... barada ... nikto! Evil returns to the box office this weekend in the form of "Evil Dead Rise," a bloody new installment from writer/director Lee Cronin that takes the Necronomicon out of the woods and into a high-rise apartment building in Los Angeles. Last week saw two new horror movies take on the titan that is "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," with the Russell Crowe-led "The Pope's Exorcist" taking a distant second place, and comedy-horror "Renfield" debuting at No. 4.

"Evil Dead Rise" couldn't topple the Nintendo juggernaut either; "Super Mario Bros." is set to safely hold on to the box office top spot in its fourth weekend with an estimated $58 million added to its domestic total, plus another $65 million from overseas markets (per The Hollywood Reporter). That will bring its total to $866 million worldwide, making the billion dollar milestone an inevitability at this point. 

Nonetheless, "Evil Dead Rise" has landed at No. 2 and is showing why horror is one of the most reliable genres at the box office. With a production budget of $15 million, the movie grossed $10.3 million on Friday from 3,402 locations, and is now projected for an opening weekend north of $23 million. That's ahead of earlier estimates, which had "Rise" pegged for a $15-20 million debut. 

It's also roughly on par with the last movie in the franchise, Fede Álvarez's excellent reimagining "Evil Dead," which released in 2013 with a domestic opening weekend of $25.7 million and a final worldwide total of $97.5 million. There's not much fresh competition at the box office next weekend, putting "Evil Dead Rise" in a good position for a strong second week hold, with the potential to take the crown as the highest-grossing franchise entry so far.

Guy Ritchie's The Covenant is this weekend's underseen underdog

Guy Ritchie's first release of 2023 was the long-delayed "Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre," which bombed due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. Things aren't looking much better on the financial front for the director's other submission for the Most Awkwardly Titled Movie of the Year Awards, "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant." Having the director's name up front didn't help this one land with a bang; it's opening at No. 3 with an estimated weekend domestic take of $6.1 million. That's not great, given its $55 million budget.

Still, the audience that did find "The Covenant" is satisfied with it. The film has a score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes and solid results from audience exit polling as well: an A CinemaScore and (per Deadline) a 92% positive rating from Comscore's PostTrak polls. While it's unlikely to break even during its theatrical run, word of mouth could push it to strong results on VOD. "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant" stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a U.S. army sergeant whose life is saved by his Afghan interpreter, Ahmed (Dar Salim), and who becomes determined to return the favor when Ahmed is targeted by the Taliban.

This weekend also sees Ari Aster's surreal black comedy "Beau is Afraid" enter wide release. Distributor A24 is better known as a prestige brand than for setting the box office on fire, but after a strong start in four theaters, "Beau is Afraid" will land at No. 9 this weekend with a respectable $2.7 million from 926 locations (per THR). This is Aster's most expensive movie so far, with a production budget of $35 million, so Beau (Joaquin Phoenix) has quite a way to go before he reaches the break-even point.