Blowing away even the most lofty of expectations, Deadpool decimated the Valentine's and President's Day weekend box office in record-breaking fashion with an estimated $135 million three-day weekend. As for its incoming competition, How to be Single performed mostly as expected while fifteen years proved too long to wait to release Zoolander 2.
Rewriting the box office record books, Deadpool broke Fifty Shades of Grey's previous February opening weekend record by nearly $45 million based on estimates and that's just the start. The largest opening for an R-rated film was previously $91.7 million, set by The Matrix Reloaded in 2003. That's been destroyed. The largest opening weekend for an R-rated comic book adaptation was previously set by 300 with $70.8 million. Bye, bye.
This is even the largest opening weekend ever for 20th Century Fox, beating a record of $108.4 million previously held by Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Though, to be fair, Revenge of the Sith did open on a Thursday where it brought in $50 million so it's not a complete apples-to-apples comparison, but it does bring us to Deadpool's expected four-day run.
Right now Fox is estimating a $150 million four-day weekend while rival studios go as high as $156 million. In just its first two days Deadpool nearly broke the previous President's Day weekend record of $93 million set by Fifty Shades of Grey, so it already holds the overall record, now it's only a matter of how much will it end up making once Monday's official totals are revealed.
This is also the largest opening for star Ryan Reynolds, a distinction previously held by X-Men Origins: Wolverine at $85 million. More exciting, however, may be the fact this is the largest opening weekend for a first-time director. Deadpool was directed by Tim Miller whose previous credits include a pair of short films along with serving as a visual effects guru for video games including "Mass Effect 2" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic". The previous record holder was Chris Miller, director of Shrek the Third, which opened with $121.6 million back in 2007. As far as live action films are concerned, Robert Stromberg held the previous record with the $69.4 million opening for Maleficent.
Next weekend will be interesting as films that open this large tend to also drop more than 50% in their second weekend. The "A" CinemaScore definitely bodes well for the film's future as films that open with more than $120 million and have an "A" CinemaScore have all gone on to gross more than $300 million. Of the ten films since 2008 that opened with more than $120 million and held an "A" CinemaScore only two managed to drop less than 50%, those being 2015's blockbusters, Jurassic World (49% second weekend drop) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (39.8%). Deadpool, however, is in a league of its own as it is the only one in that group with an R-rating, a classification Hollywood is surely looking at closely. It will be interesting to see if we start seeing more films of this sort as we know a Deadpool sequel is already in the works.
The weekend is also coming up roses for Deadpool overseas as the film brought in a whopping $125 million from 61 international markets. This is the third highest grossing international opening for Fox ever. Among the accolades, the film scored the largest industry opening in Russia with $12.4 million as well as the largest Fox opening in 13 other markets including Australia ($10m); Taiwan ($8.25m); Brazil ($5.9m); Hong Kong ($3.8m); and Malaysia ($2.9m). Overall we're looking at a $260.1 million worldwide debut for the "Merc with a Mouth".
Moving to this week's other two new wide releases, New Line and MGM's How to be Single is performing just a shade below expectations, bringing in an estimated $18.7 million for the three-day weekend and expected to finish with just over $20 million for the four-day. The film didn't exactly score stellar reviews, but the "B" CinemaScore is decent enough to suggest it should have a so-so run, perhaps ending its domestic run around $50-60 million if it can hold on next weekend. The film also brought in $8.1 million internationally this weekend
Moving further down the chart we come to Zoolander 2, which opened with an estimated $15.6 million along with a "C+" CinemaScore with the target demo of 18-24 year-olds gave it a "B". The lackluster opening is almost exactly the same as the $15.5 million opening for the first film, which went on to make just over $45 million back in 2001. The first Zoolander dropped only 38.7% in its second weekend and if the sequel can manage something similar it may be able to top its predecessor, with an overall domestic run anywhere from $42-49 million seeming most likely at this point.
Also opening this weekend was Michael Moore's latest documentary, Where to Invade Next, which opened with an estimated $933,240 for a $3,030 per theater average. Moore's ability to publicize the film was hindered as he fell ill with pneumonia and was in intensive care last week and home resting this week, just ahead of the film's release.
Looking at the weekend's holdovers, Kung Fu Panda 3 delivered with a stellar 7.5% drop, coming in second with an estimated $19.6 million. Fox is expecting a $26 million four-day as the film's domestic cume is now up to $93.9 million.
The Revenant edged out Hail, Caesar! for the fifth slot, bringing in an estimated $6.9 million as the Coens' latest dipped 42% for a $6.5 million second weekend.
This weekend also marked something of a milestone as Star Wars: The Force Awakens fell out of the weekend top five for the first time since releasing back on December 18. The film took seventh place this weekend with an estimated $6.1 million as its domestic cume is now up to $914.8 million and its worldwide returns totaling more than $2.026 billion.
Next weekend the competition doesn't look tough enough to keep Deadpool from a second consecutive week at #1. New releases next Friday include the faith-based feature Risen from Sony; Focus will bring the Jesse Owens biopic Race to approximately 2,300 theaters; and A24 is going aggressive with a wide release of their period horror feature The Witch.
For a complete look at this weekend's results click here and stay tuned as we'll be back tomorrow with four-day estimates and on Tuesday we'll have complete weekend actuals for you.