Weekend Box Office: ‘Deadpool 2’ Earns Record-Shattering $18.6M in Previews

Weekend Box Office: ‘Deadpool 2’ Earns Record-Shattering $18.6M in Previews

Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox’s superhero sequel opens two years after the first ‘Deadpool’ hit theaters.

Avengers: Infinity War finally has some competition.

Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox’s summer event pic Deadpool 2 rocketed to a huge $18.6 million in Thursday-night previews from 3,785 theaters, a record for an R-rated pic.

The previous record holder was It ($13.5 million). Prior to It, the first Deadpool had boasted the top preview gross for an R-rated film ($12.7 million). Deadpool, opening in February 2016, went on to debut to a massive $132.4 million, the best launch ever for an R-rated film.

Deadpool 2 — a darling among critics — seems destined to make some history of its own, if the preview number is an indication.

On Friday morning, Deadpool 2 will be playing in a total of 4,349 theaters in North America, where it will easily win the weekend with a debut in the $130 million to $150 million range, ending Infinity War‘s three-week rule.

Overseas, Deadpool 2 is opening in most major markets timed to its U.S. launch — one major exception is China — for a projected foreign debut of $150 million-plus.

Reynolds reprises his role as Deadpool in the follow-up. He produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch, follows the irreverent superhero as he forms an X-Force posse in hopes of stopping the evil Cable (Josh Brolin). Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand and Jack Kesy co-star.

A pair of smaller films also open nationwide this week: Paramount’s female-fronted Book Club and Global Road’s family offering Show Dogs.

Targeting older femmes, director Bill Holderman’s Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey — with unintended consequences.

Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson play the love interests. Book Club is tracking to open in the $9 million-$10 million range after grossing a respectable $625,000 in Thursday-evening previews. That’s on par with such pics as Sisters, Overboard and The Intern.

While Avengers: Infinity War will continue its impressive box office run this weekend, perhaps topping $600 million domestically, it will be relinquishing its spot at the top of the domestic charts to yet another Marvel comic book adaptation. Fox’s Deadpool 2 is debuting in a record number of theaters for an R-rated release, not to mention serving as the studio’s widest release ever, and hopes to top the record R-rated debut set by its predecessor two years ago. Also opening this weekend is Paramount’s Book Club, looking to offer older audience members an alternative, while Global Road debuts an alternative of its own in the talking dog family feature Show Dogs.

With Deadpool 2 expected to top this weekend’s box office, it will be the ninth weekend out of the twenty so far this year that a Marvel comic adaptation has served as the #1 film at the weekend box office. Debuting in 4,349 locations, the film is the widest release ever for an R-rated film (topping It‘s 4,103 theaters) and the widest release ever for 20th Century Fox, topping the 4,253 theaters How to Train Your Dragon 2 debuted in in June 2014. The size of the film’s footprint says a lot about the audience and exhibitor appetite for the foul-mouthed antihero as it takes aim at topping the first film’s record-setting $132.4 million opening for an R-rated film.

Industry expectations for the film lean toward an opening anywhere from $130-150 million and those numbers are supported when looking at IMDb page view comparisons leading up to release. Most importantly, Deadpool 2 is neck-and-neck with the first film, which isn’t typically the case for a sequel as follow-ups tend to pace behind their predecessors. Additionally, online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports the sequel is outpacing the original film in advanced ticket sales, all of which has us leaning toward a record breaking opening for an R-rated film with a $138 million opening with room to go much higher.

After three weeks on top of the domestic box office and already pulling in over $1.686 billion worldwide, becoming the fourth largest global release of all-time, Avengers: Infinity War will fall to second place on the domestic charts this weekend. Right now we’re anticipating a drop right around 53%, pulling in around $29 million for the three-day, finishing the weekend with a domestic cume just shy of $600 million domestically after 24 days in release.

Paramount is looking at a third place debut for Book Club, which they acquired North America, France and UK rights for $10 million at AFM last November. Starring Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Keaton and Candice Bergen, the studio is being conservative with its expectations, anticipating an opening right at $9 million, below our anticipated $10-14 million range for the weekend.

Our expectations are supported by IMDb page view comparisons, which show Book Club outperforming films such as The Big Wedding, The Single Moms Club, Going in Style and Love the Coopers over the two weeks leading up to release while pacing behind Nancy Meyers‘s The Intern. All things considered, our data is leaning heavily toward an opening closer to $12 million, give or take a million or so on either side of that number.

Melissa McCarthy is coming off her worst debut as a film’s lead in Life of the Party, which only managed to narrowly top Breaking In last weekend once actuals were counted. This weekend we’re expecting it to dip 47% for a three-day right around $9.5 million and a fourth place finish.

Rounding out the top five is the aforementioned Breaking In, which came in $1.1 million ahead of estimates last weekend and should dip around 58% or so for a $7.4 million weekend, pushing the film’s domestic cume over $30 million after ten days in release.

Just outside the top five we find the weekend’s final new wide release in Global Road’s Show Dogs. The talking dog feature is the last film to come from the old regime, prior to the Open Road and IM Global merger, and reports have the film tracking to debut in the high single million digits. To look at IMDb page view data we are seeing this one pacing almost exactly like Open Road’s The Nut Job 2 last August, which opened in a massive 4,003 theaters with a dismal $8.3 million. While there haven’t been many family options in theaters as of late, we’re still struggling to see Show Dogs breaking out and currently expecting the film to debut with anywhere from $6-8 million with our forecast, at this time, coming in on the lower end of those expectations.

Magnolia is expanding the release of their documentary RBG into 375 locations (+196) this weekend. The film squeaked into the top ten last weekend and could do the same this weekend. Right now we’re forecasting it will be neck-and-neck with I Feel Pretty for that final spot, both finishing right around $1.5 million for the three-day.

Also be on the lookout for Focus’s documentary Pope Francis – A Man of His Word, which is opening in 346 locations and should manage around $1-1.2 million this weekend, enough to threaten for a spot in the top 15.

In limited release, A24 is releasing the thriller First Reformed into four theaters; Bleecker will debut On Chesil Beach in four locations; and IFC will release the documentary That Summer into one theater.

This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Deadpool 2 (4,349 theaters) – $138.0 M
  • Avengers: Infinity War (4,002 theaters) – $29.2 M
  • Book Club (2,781 theaters) – $12.0 M
  • Life of the Party (3,656 theaters) – $9.5 M
  • Breaking In (2,537 theaters) – $7.4 M
  • Show Dogs (3,145 theaters) – $6.3 M
  • Overboard (1,820 theaters) – $5.8 M
  • A Quiet Place (2,327 theaters) – $4.0 M
  • Rampage (1,466 theaters) – $1.6 M
  • RBG (375 theaters) – $1.5 M