Sunday Update: Fox's Deadpool exploded this weekend with an estimated three-day debut of $135.0 million. The Ryan Reynolds led antihero film not only destroyed expectations, but destroyed the previous all-time R-rated and February opening weekend records as well. Deadpool opened 47 percent ahead of the $91.77 million 2003 debut of previous R-rated record holder The Matrix Reloaded and 58.5 percent ahead of the $85.17 million start of previous February (and Presidents Day weekend) record holder Fifty Shades of Grey. Deadpool also delivered the largest debut ever for a film in the X-Men universe, as it opened 31 percent ahead of the $102.75 million three-day start of 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. Deadpool opened 49 percent ahead of the $90.82 million three-day debut of last year's X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is especially impressive given that Deadpool didn't have the added advantage of higher priced 3D admissions and opened in 438 fewer locations.
Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Deadpool registered the 17th largest opening weekend of all-time. The film also claimed the fifth largest debut ever for a Marvel adaptation (behind only 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2013's Iron Man 3 and 2007's Spider-Man 3) and the seventh largest debut ever for a comic book adaption of any kind (behind only 2012's The Dark Knight Rises and 2008's The Dark Knight in addition to the four mentioned Marvel films).
Thanks to a marketing campaign that went over amazingly well with moviegoers, Deadpool had generated strong online activity for months. But the film ultimately performed far stronger than even its online strength had suggested. In addition to the film's marketing striking the perfect chord with comic book fans and general audiences alike, Deadpool was also helped by the popularity of the character among comic book fans, good critical reviews and by Valentine's Day falling on Sunday.
Deadpool opened with $47.46 million on Friday (which included an estimated $12.7 million from Thursday night shows), dipped just 10 percent on Saturday to take in $42.55 million and is estimated to increase 6 percent on Valentine's Day Sunday to gross $45.00 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.85 to 1, which is very encouraging for a high-profile comic book adaptation (even with Valentine's Day in mind). Deadpool received a strong A rating on CinemaScore and currently boasts a terrific 96 percent audience score on Flixster. With word of mouth this strong, it's very possible that Deadpool will have stronger than expected holding power as well, on top of its already explosive debut. Fox's current four-day estimate for Deadpool is $150.0 million.
Fellow Fox release Kung Fu Panda 3 placed in a distant second with an estimated three-day take of $19.65 million. The 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation was down just 14 percent from last weekend. Kung Fu Panda 3 was helped out this weekend by no new family films entering the marketplace, by the holiday frame and by Super Bowl 50 having deflated last weekend's grosses in general. Kung Fu Panda 3 has grossed $92.46 million in 17 days. That places the film 21 percent behind the $116.94 million 17-day gross of last year's Hotel Transylvania 2 (which fell 38.5 percent in its third weekend to claim $20.42 million). Kung Fu Panda 3 is likely to hold up well throughout the rest of February, thanks in part to no new family films entering the marketplace until the arrival of Disney's Zootopia on March 4. Fox's current four-day estimate for Kung Fu Panda 3 is $26.0 million.
Warner's How to Be Single debuted in third place with an estimated three-day start of $18.75 million. The romantic comedy from New Line and MGM featuring Dakota Johnson opened towards the higher end of pre-release expectations. How to Be Single benefited from Valentine's Day falling on Sunday and from ultimately representing a better alternative choice to Deadpool than Zoolander 2 did. How to Be Single performed 24 percent stronger than the $15.07 million three-day start of 2009's Confessions of a Shopaholic.
How to Be Single opened with $5.25 million on Friday (which included an estimated $700,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 14 percent on Saturday to gross $6.00 million and is estimated to increase 25 percent on Sunday to take in $7.50 million. The film received a respectable B rating on CinemaScore and currently has a 66 percent audience score on Flixster. BoxOffice currently estimates that How to Be Single will take in $21.0 million over the four-day frame.
Meanwhile, Paramount's Zoolander 2 had to settle for a fourth place estimated three-day launch of $15.65 million. The PG-13 rated comedy sequel starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson opened well below pre-release expectations. While Zoolander 2 had generated strong online activity levels before its release, that online activity and the film's cult following failed to transfer over to the box office this weekend. Obviously, the break-out performance of Deadpool also significantly limited the potential of Zoolander 2 this weekend. Without taking into account 15 years of ticket price inflation, the three-day start for Zoolander 2 was very similar to the $15.53 million debut of 2001's Zoolander.
Zoolander 2 opened with $4.20 million on Friday (which included an estimated $750,000 from Thursday night shows), increased 11 percent on Saturday to gross $4.67 million and is estimated to increase 45 percent on Sunday to gross $6.78 million. The film received a soft C+ rating on CinemaScore and currently has an audience score of just 37 percent on Flixster. Neither is a good sign for Zoolander 2 going forward. Paramount's current four-day estimate for Zoolander 2 is $18.0 million.
Beyond the top four, other estimated three-day grosses this weekend included $6.90 million for Fox's The Revenant, $6.59 million for Universal's Hail, Caesar!, $6.19 million for Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens and $5.25 million for Lionsgate's The Choice. The Revenant (down 1 percent), The Force Awakens (down 11 percent) and The Choice (down 13 percent) all held up extremely well this weekend, while Hail, Caesar! was down a troubling 42 percent. Respective current total grosses stand at $914.84 million for The Force Awakens, at $159.16 million for The Revenant, at $21.35 million for Hail, Caesar! and at $13.26 million for The Choice.
4-Day Weekend Estimates
1. Deadpool -- $150.00M*
2. Kung Fu Panda 3 -- $26.00M*
3. How to Be Single -- $21.00M#
4. Zoolander 2 -- $18.00M*
5. The Revenant -- $8.10M*
6. The Force Awakens -- $7.55M*
7. Hail, Caesar! -- $7.51M*
8. The Choice -- $6.00M*
9. Ride Along 2 -- $4.76M*
10. The Finest Hours -- $3.28M*
11. The Boy -- $3.26M*
12. The 5th Wave -- $3.15M#
13. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- $2.85M#
14. Dirty Grandpa -- $2.50M*
15. 13 Hours -- $1.80M*
16. The Big Short -- $1.57M*
* Indicates an official studio estimate.
# Indicates a BoxOffice.com estimate.
Saturday Update: Fox reports this morning that Deadpool is utterly crushing records for an R-rated film -- and then some. The Ryan Reynolds vehicle exploded with an estimated $47.5 million opening day on Friday, including $12.7 million from Thursday night shows. That handily surpasses The Matrix Reloaded's previous record opening day for an R-rated film ($37.5 million, or $42.5 million counting its Wednesday early shows in May 2003), as well as previous graphic novel adaptation champ 300 ($28.1 million opening day in March 2007).
Among other records Deadpool has or will be chasing down, it topped last year's Fifty Shades of Grey ($30.3 million) for the best all-time February opening day and looks to steal that film's $85.2 million record four-day President's Day weekend when all is said and done. It should also have little trouble taking down Matrix Reloaded's R-rated weekend record of $91.8 million (which American Sniper's $89.3 million, in addition to Grey, came close to last year).
Not unlike Disney/Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Fox's phenomenal (and consistently viral) Deadpool ad campaign over the last few months has turned a largely unknown character (outside of fans) into an instant mega success. Despite no serious built-in franchise event-level appeal, plus its R rating, the film's first day stands as the 24th highest in history. It even surpassed Guardians itself ($37.9 million opening day), and every Marvel movie -- from any studio -- not named Avengers, Spider-Man, or Iron Man. Those franchises (five films between them) plus the final two Dark Knight films stand as the only "comic book" adaptations to claim higher opening days than Deadpool. In other words, and in a fantastic moment of irony, it topped the openings days of every X-Men film (The Last Stand's $45.1 million being the highest).
Adding to all of this is the fact that word of mouth is stellar. Some natural drop-off will occur due to the immense upfront fan demand, but with very impressive 96 percent Flixster and 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes scores as of this morning, the pic could play very well beyond this Valentine's/President's Day weekend.
The calendar makes projections trickier than usual at this point, particularly because Valentine's Day date crowds will sway the market on Sunday. This is the kind of film that could take a hit from that, but it's also showing signs of crossing over into being a date night movie itself. We'll have further analysis on Deadpool's debut and numerous records in the days ahead as it gets a chance to play out. For now, BoxOffice projects a colossal and record-smashing $114 million three-day opening weekend and $127 million for the four-day holiday frame.
MGM/New Line's How to Be Single bowed with $5.25 million yesterday, surprisingly coming in second place ahead of Zoolander 2. That's a very healthy start for the fairly low-profile rom-com as it aims to benefit from date night crowds this weekend. BoxOffice projects a $20.3 million three-day opening and $22.8 million for the extended frame into Monday.
Speaking of Zoolander 2, the comedy follow-up started with an estimated $4.2 million. The original film's fans had been demanding a sequel for the past decade, but it clearly is being overshadowed by Deadpool buzz. Reviews (22 percent) and word of mouth (38 percent) appear to be heading in the wrong direction, unfortunately, which leads to our current three-day and four-day projections of $13.6 million and $15.5 million, respectively.
Kung Fu Panda 3 tacked on another $3.88 million on Friday for a new tally of $78.1 million. Look for an $18.2 million three-day weekend and $24 million over the four-day.
Meanwhile, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens continued to hold their own despite a wave of new competition. The former posted $1.3 million yesterday for a new total of $153.6 million stateside, while the all-time domestic record champ added $1.2 million for a new haul of $909.85 million. Our weekend projections for those and the remainder of the top ten can be found below (ranked by four-day estimates). We'll update with weekend estimates from the studios on Sunday morning.
Rank / Title / 3-Day Estimate / 4-Day Estimate
1. Deadpool ($114 million 3-day / $127 million 4-day)
2. Kung Fu Panda 3 ($18.2 million / $24.0 million)
3. How to Be Single ($20.3 million / $22.8 million)
4. Zoolander 2 ($13.6 million / $15.5 million)
5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($6.2 million / $7.6 million)
6. The Revenant ($6.5 million / $7.5 million)
7. Hail, Caesar! ($6.45 million / $7.3 million)
8. The Choice ($5.1 million / $6.0 million)
9. Ride Along 2 ($3.9 million / $4.5 million)
10. The Boy ($3.2 million / $3.7 million)
11. The Finest Hours ($2.8 million / $3.5 million)
12. The 5th Wave ($2.5 million / $3.0 million)
13. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ($2.2 million / $2.6 million)
14. Dirty Grandpa ($2.0 million / $2.3 million)
15. 13 Hours ($1.6 million / $1.9 million)
Friday Update: Multiple sources report that Deadpool gunned down an excellent $12.7 million from Thursday night's opening shows, taking down the all-time R-rated record of $10.4 million from The Hangover Part II and the overall February record of $8.6 million by last year's Fifty Shades of Grey.
Following an extensively viral ad campaign that dominated social media since last summer, last night's debut impressively bested numerous superhero adaptations as well -- namely Guardians of the Galaxy ($11.2 million), fellow in-universe title X-Men: Days of Future Past ($8.1 million), and Ant-Man ($6.4 million). It's no wonder Fox greenlit a sequel earlier this week given the very strong word of mouth coming out of last night's first shows.
Among last night's earnings were $2.3 million from IMAX alone, the best ever posted by an IMAX title in February, and sixth highest of all-time (more than Furious 7).
Weekend projections are more challenging than usual given the landing of Valentine's Day on Sunday and President's Day on Monday, but given the strong reception so far we're inclined to believe Thursday front-loading won't be abnormally severe. The top five R-rated weekends of all-time (Friday through Sunday) belong to films that earned over $83.8 million -- with the top two being The Matrix Reloaded's $91.8 million and American Sniper's $89.3 million. Those are also close to the proximity of Guardians' $94.3 million opening weekend and Days of Future Past's $90.8 million three-day start. Even though Deadpool's Sunday may be deflated by date night crowds, it may have enough lead-in already to get close to those figures.
For the four-day, last year's Fifty Shades of Grey set a new President's Day frame record with $93.0 million. Deadpool has a great shot at topping that, and could be looking upward of $100 million+ by the end of the extended weekend if everything goes its way. Either way, coupled with a fantastic overseas start as well, this is a massive success already for Fox, Ryan Reynolds, and co.
Also debuting last night was Zoolander 2, which posted a more modest $750,000 from early shows. By comparison, Anchorman: The Legend Continues did $2.3 million from its early show opening, although that film opened one week before Christmas when many were out of school and work for the holidays.
Lastly, How to Be Single posted $700,000 last night, a solid total that indicates some potential to upset Zoolander 2 for second place among this weekend's openers. That figure topped About Last Night's $530,000 Thursday night start one day before Valentine's in 2014.
We'll have further analysis and our weekend estimates on Saturday morning once the studios release official Friday estimates.