Deadpool is a hit! Audiences and critics alike are loving its brash, bold attitude, which has definitely redefined what a superhero movie can be. And it arrives as an R rated affair, which makes it even a more surprising winner at the box office. In lieu of it's big three day holiday weekend, the movie opened for Thursday Night Previews, breaking a couple of records in the process.

Deadpool has set the R Rated Thursday night preview record, taking in a late evening gross of $12.7 million at 2,975 theaters last night. This obliterates the previous record set by the 2011 comedy sequel The Hangover Part II, which pulled in $10.4 million from Midnight showings. Deadpool actually had the upper hand in conquering this record, as it played for multiple showings at 7 and 9 pm.

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Deadpool also took the best February Thursday night preview record, set by last year's Fifty Shades of Grey. That long awaited adaptation of the best-selling novel opened in the same Holiday weekend time frame, taking in $8.6 million. Deadpool is also going strong overseas. Opening in 7 markets, it pulled in another $12M. That puts its global haul at $25M.

Right now, it is estimated that Deadpool will rake in a cool $60 million to $65 million playing at 3,557 over the weekend, including the grosses from Thursday night preview screenings. Non-Fox distribution executives are positioning the movie to open much higher than that. Some speculate that it could earn anywhere from $70 million to $80 million. In 2007, the R Rated comic book inspired 300 earned $70.9 million on its opening weekend. And in 2009, the R Rated comic book adaptation Watchmen made $55.2 million over its opening weekend.

Advanced box office tallies for Paramount and Warner Bros.' two big Valentine's Day holiday offering Zoolander 2 and How to Be Single should arrive soon. Of the $12.7 million gross, Deadpool pulled in $2.3 million from IMAX on Thursday. That equals out to $6,200 per IMAX screen, the best ever for an IMAX February release and for an R Rated movie. It is the sixth biggest Thursday IMAX preview screening of all time, pulling ahead of 2015's Furious 7 and 2013's Iron Man 3.

According to Fandango, Deadpool has been the top ticket seller over the past two weeks. And it has outsold Marvel's Ant-Man at this same point in the sales cycle. Deadpool is being heavily marketed on both TV and social media with a number of edgy promos and events. And some billboards and TV ads have been selling it as a romantic comedy, to help push it through Valentine's day weekend. Is Deadpool part of your holiday weekend plans?

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange