After pulling down the biggest preview numbers ever for a February release, not to mention an R-rated feature, Fox’s Deadpool is headed for many more box office records this weekend. According to studio estimates, the Marvel adaptation earned an estimated $47.5 million from 3,558 locations yesterday, including that $12.7 million from its Thursday p.m. screenings.
Deadpool’s current Friday estimate is, by far, the biggest single-day opening ever in the month of February. The previous record was $30.2 million, set on this same Valentine’s/President’s Day frame one year ago by Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey. In 2015, Fifty Shades went on to set a new weekend record for February ($85.1 million) and the four-day President’s Day holiday ($93 million). But now thanks to Friday’s outsized performance, those records will belong to Deadpool.
Originally projected to open between $65 and $75 million, Deadpool is headed for at least $105 million through Sunday and as much as $120 with Monday’s holiday included. Just to give you an idea of how huge a $105 million weekend would be, it would not only top all previous releases in Fox’s X-Men franchise but also all the opening weekends of all but three films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Avengers, Age of Ultron, and Iron Man 3. Considering Deadpool’s hard R-rating, its long development history, and the utter failure of Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot last August, the studio has got to be overjoyed with this morning’s estimate.
In terms of all-time R-rated openings, the single-day record has been held by The Matrix Reloaded since 2003. The film earned $37.5 million on its first day in theatres (a Thursday) but totaled $42.5 million with Wednesday previews included. For its first three-day weekend, Reloaded earned $91.7 million and remained the all-time R-rated champ for more than a decade despite challenges from The Hangover Part II and American Sniper. But that ends this weekend thanks to Deadpool.
Looking at the two comedies that opened alongside Deadpool, neither are expected to top their modest pre-release projections. The R-rated ensemble How to Be Single earned an estimated $5.25 million from 3,394 locations on Friday, and is now expected to fall just under $20 million for the three-day weekend.
As for Zoolander 2, the news is not promising. The long-awaited sequel to the 2001 Ben Stiller comedy earned just $4.2 million from 3,343 locations on Friday. That indicates a three-day weekend of less than $15 million, instead of the $20 million debut that the industry expected. Keep in mind that the original Zoolander (which was considered a box office miss in its day) debuted with $15.5 million – and that’s without adjusting for inflation.
We’ll have full details on what promises to be a very interesting weekend at the box office tomorrow. Until then, here’s Friday’s top five, based on studio estimates:
|2.||How to be Single||$5,250,000||$5.25|
|4.||Kung Fu Panda 3||$3,875,000||$78.1|