In the past few years, February has gone from a month that rarely features any box office hits, to a viable frame to open big blockbusters. Recent hits like The Lego Movie, Fifty Shades of Grey and Kingsman: The Secret Service have proved that fans will brave the elements and head to the theaters in droves for the right movie, and this year is no different, with three new releases arriving this weekend, all of which are slated to take in more than $20 million, according to the projections at Pro.BoxOffice.com. The big runaway winner, though, is expected to be the superhero adaptation Deadpool, which could come close to making box office history, although Zoolander 2 and How to Be Single are expected to perform well also.
Last month, analysts started tracking this blockbuster-to-be, predicting that its opening weekend could be anywhere between $55 million and $60 million. The movie has picked up a lot of buzz since then, especially with a string of positive reviews, with the movie now projected to take in a whopping $81 million this weekend. If it does hit that mark, it will become the third-highest movie ever to open in February, following The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million) and last year's Fifty Shades of Grey ($85.1 million). The film is currently standing at a superb 84% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes, and it's expected to debut in more than 3,400 theaters this weekend.
Deadpool will also set the pace for a huge year of superhero adventures. Warner Bros. kicks off its superhero universe with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5. 20th Century Fox will also debut X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, and it's possible that we may see Deadpool in that adventure, although it hasn't been confirmed. Marvel will be kicking off their Phase Three lineup with Captain America: Civil War on May 6 and Doctor Strange on November 4.
Based upon Marvel Comics' most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. Ryan Reynolds stars as the Merc With the Mouth, with a supporting cast that includes Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Olesia Shewchuk, Style Dayne, Rachel Sheen and Dan Zachary.
Zoolander 2 and How to Be Single are expected to take the second and third places, with $23 million and $20 million respectively. Both of these comedies open in roughly the same amount of theaters, with Zoolander 2 debuting in 3,200 theaters and How to Be Single expected to roll out in just over 3,250 theaters. Neither of these comedies have enough reviews posted for a Rotten Tomatoes score yet, but that will change in the days ahead as we get closer to this release. While neither movie is expected to come close to the Merc With the Mouth, if it meets or exceeds these projections, it will still be a successful weekend for both projects.
Zoolander 2 centers on Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson), who are recruited by Valentina (Penélope Cruz), an Interpol agent and former swimwear model, to stop a deranged killer who is targeting the most beautiful people in the world. The first trailer revealed that this assassin starts his killing spree with none other than pop star Justin Bieber, who was revealed in a set photo posted by star/director Ben Stiller back in April. Other celebrities this killer has bumped off include Usher Raymond, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus.
How to Be Single centers on young Alice (Dakota Johnson) who, after four years of college, decides she needs a break from her long-term boyfriend Josh. Excited and ready for new challenges, the eager grad moves to New York to take a job as a paralegal. Helping her navigate her way through an unfamiliar city is Robin (Rebel Wilson), a fun-loving, wild co-worker who enjoys partying and one-night stands. With Robin as her freewheeling guide, Alice can now learn how to get free drinks, meet men and enjoy the single lifestyle. The top five will be rounded out by holdovers Kung Fu Panda 3 ($13 million), dropping from first to fourth place, and Hail, Caesar! ($7.6 million).
The top 10 will be rounded out by The Revenant ($6.1 million), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($4.3 million), The Choice ($3 million), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ($2.8 million) and The Finest Hours ($2.2 million). Also opening in limited release this weekend is the documentary Where to Invade Next, Touched with Fire, Providence, Of Mind and Music and Fitor. It isn't known if any of these movies will be expanding to a nationwide release in the weeks and months to come, but we'll keep you posted.
Looking ahead to next weekend, three films will open in wide release, Focus Features' biopic Race, Sony's faith-based drama Risen and A24's horror-thriller The Witch. No specific theater counts have been given at this time, but they will also be going up against Oscilloscope Pictures' Embrace of the Serpent, Lionsgate's Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer and FIP's Neerja in limited release. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next week's predictions. Until then, take a look at the projected top 10 for the February 12 weekend below.
PREDICTED HOLIDAY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: