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Box office hits and misses: Deadpool slays box-office records in huge debut

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The big question is no longer whether “R”-rated superhero movie Deadpool will succeed, but how many records it’s going to break before it leaves theaters.

Director Tim Miller’s raunchy, ultraviolent film featuring Marvel Comics’ popular, mutant mercenary blew away every prediction from box-office prognosticators on its way to a whopping $135 million opening weekend. The film’s impressive debut launched it past several long time record-holders, and pushed the irreverent antihero into the ranks of Hollywood’s most elite big-screen heroes.

Ryan Reynolds’ first solo adventure as Wade Wilson shattered the record for “R”-rated movie premieres, beating the 2003 opening weekend for The Matrix Reloaded by more than $40 million. Along with holding the new record for “R”-rated opening weekends, Deadpool also set a new record for February premieres, beating the $85.2 million opening weekend for Fifty Shades of Grey last year.

Deadpool’s big weekend also earned it some serious box-office cred in the comic-book movie genre, as it now sits in seventh place on the list of biggest opening weekends of all time for films based on comic books. (Its opening weekend only ranks behind Marvel Studios’ two Avengers movies, Iron Man 3, the last two Dark Knight movies, and Spider-Man 3). Given that Deadpool only cost around $58 million to make, it’s also on its way to becoming one of the most profitable comic book movies, too.

Oh, and behind the camera, Deadpool had the most successful opening weekend for any filmmaker’s directorial debut — so there’s a pretty good chance Miller is fielding some intriguing phone calls this weekend.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Deadpool $135M $135M $260.2M
2. Kung Fu Panda 3 $19.6M $93.9M $256.1M
3. How To Be Single $18.7M $18.7M $26.8M
4. Zoolander 2 $15.6M $15.6M $24.1M
5. The Revenant $6.9M $159.2M $361.2M
6. Hail, Caesar! $6.6M $21.3M $21.3M
7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens $6.2M $914.8M $2,026.6M
8. The Choice $5.2M $13.2M $13.2M
9. Ride Along 2 $4.1M $82.7M $108.3M
10. The Boy $2.9M $30.8M $30.8M

Things were a bit quieter this weekend for any films that weren’t Deadpool, with How to Be Single debuting to the tune of $18.7 million over the Valentine’s Day weekend — which is just about what was expected for the low-profile, female-led ensemble comedy starring Alison Brie, Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, and Leslie Mann.

The outlook wasn’t as positive for Zoolander 2, which generated just $15.6 million in its first weekend in theaters. While that fell short of the industry insiders’ expectations, it’s actually right on par with the original, 2001 film, which earned $15.5 million its first weekend. The original film went on to earn a respectable $60.8 million worldwide, so there’s still hope for the planet’s most handsome male model, Derek Zoolander.

Hitting theaters next week is the period-piece horror film The Witch, which is riding a wave of positive buzz from the festival circuit and lots of attention generated by its super-creepy trailers. The religious drama Risen also premieres over the weekend, and given how well recent faith-based films have performed at the box office, there’s reason to believe this biblical film could have a good debut. However, neither The Witch nor Risen seem capable of altering the likelihood that Deadpool will again top the box office next week.

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Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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