Predicting box office estimates is far from an exact science, as many films often come far above or far under expectations all the time. Weeks before 20th Century Fox's Deadpool hit theaters, early projections claimed the superhero adventure would take in between $55 million and $60 million on its opening weekend, and as we got closer to the release date, some predicted it could get as high as $80 million. As it turns out, they were all wrong, with Box Office Mojo reporting this critically-acclaimed R-rated adventure shattered both expectations and records alike, taking in a whopping $135 million, and it's expected to cross $150 million over the four-day President's Day holiday weekend.
Armed with a slew of positive reviews to the tune of an 84% "Fresh" Rotten Tomatoes rating, Deadpool shattered the record for highest grossing R-rated opening weekend of $91.7 million, held for 13 years by The Matrix Reloaded. It also shattered Fifty Shades of Grey's February record of $85.1 million, along with its four-day President's Day weekend record ($93 million), the record for highest-grossing R-rated comic book adaptation (300, $70.8 million), largest winter opening weekend (American Sniper, $89.2 million) and it became the biggest opening ever for 20th Century Fox, surpassing 2005's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith record of $108.4 million. These records were all broken by a movie that was close to never being made at all.
Back in July 2014, the test footage that Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller shot was leaked online, and was met with incredibly positive reactions from fans all over the world. Just a few months later, 20th Century Fox officially green-lit the movie, setting a February 12, 2016 release date. While this R-rated superhero adaptation was seen as a big gamble for many, that big bet paid off, since the movie has more than doubled its $58 million budget after just three days in theaters. The blockbuster opened in 3,558 theaters this weekend, pulling in an incredible $37,957 per-screen average.
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.
Kung Fu Panda 3 dropped to second place this weekend with $19.6 million, followed by newcomers How to Be Single in third with $18.7 million and Zoolander 2 in fourth with $15.6 million, both movies coming in under expectations. It was projected that Zoolander 2 would open in second place with $23 million, followed by How to Be Single in third with $20 million. Both of these comedies open in roughly the same amount of theaters, with Zoolander 2 debuting in 3,394 theaters and How to Be Single rolling out in just over 3,343 theaters. Neither of these comedies fared well on Rotten Tomatoes, with Zoolander 2 earning just a 23% rating on RT with How to Be Single scoring a 47% rating.
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 is rounded out by The Revenant with $6.9 million
The top 10 is rounded out by Hail, Caesar! ($6.5 million), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($6.1 million), The Choice ($5.2 million), Ride Along 2 ($4.1 million) and The Boy ($2.9 million). Also opening in limited release this weekend is the documentary Where to Invade Next, which took in $1.03 million from 308 theaters for a $3,353 per-screen average. Touched with Fire opened with $16,955 in six theaters for a $2,826 per-screen average. No box office data was given for 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 top 10 for the February 12 weekend below.
HOLIDAY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: