6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'Deadpool 2' Plots $130M-$150M Weekend Picnic
More than two years after Ryan Reynolds' Merc With a Mouth transformed into a box-office sensation, Deadpool 2 is hitting theaters around the globe.
In North America, the 20th Century Fox sequel has a chance of posting a $130 million to $150 million opening weekend.
Overseas, Deadpool 2 is opening in most major markets timed to its U.S. launch — one major exception is China — for a projected foreign debut well north of $100 million.
Reynolds reprises his role as Deadpool in the follow-up. He produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
In February 2016, Deadpool debuted to a massive $132.4 million, the best launch ever for an R-rated film. (The sequel is likewise rated R.)
Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch, follows the irreverent superhero as he forms an X-Force posse in hopes of stopping the evil Cable (Josh Brolin). Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand and Jack Kesy co-star.
The sequel will easily shoot to the top of the summer box-office chart, which Disney and Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War has ruled so far.
On Wednesday, online ticket service Atom Tickets reported that the pic has surpassed Avengers: Infinity War to become the company's top preseller. (Atom was founded in 2016.)
Currently, Deadpool 2 boasts an 87 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, ahead of Deadpool's 83 percent score.
A pair of smaller films also open nationwide this week: Paramount's female-fronted Book Club and Global Road's family offering Show Dogs.
Targeting older femmes, director Bill Holderman's Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey — with unintended consequences. Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson play the love interests. Book Club is tracking to open in the $9 million-$10 million range.
Show Dogs is likewise hoping to bow in the high single-digit million-dollar range. Rated PG, the pic chronicles the adventures of a Rottweiler police dog (voiced by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) that infiltrates a prestigious dog show with the help of his human partner (Will Arnett). Other castmembers include Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O'Neal and Alan Cumming.
May 16, 12:20 p.m. Updated with Atom Tickets presales.