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Superheroes continued to dominate the box office over the weekend as Ryan Reynolds and Fox’s Deadpool 2 bowed to $125 million domestically and $301 million globally after scoring the biggest foreign debut ever for an R-rated title.
After falling off more than expected on Saturday, the sequel couldn’t match the North American opening of the first Deadpool, which launched to $132.4 million in February 2016, the best showing in history for an R-rated title. Nevertheless, Deadpool 2 still scored the third-best domestic bow of the year to date behind fellow superhero tentpoles Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, as well as the No. 2 launch ever for an R-rated film. It is also Fox’s second biggest weekend opening in history behind Deadpool.
Overseas, Deadpool 2 rocketed to $176 million from 81 markets, Fox’s biggest opening of all time internationally — and that’s without China, where the film doesn’t yet have a release date. X-Men: Days of Future Past was the previous Fox champ ($174 million), while Fox’s Logan had been the record holder for biggest foreign bow for an R-rated movie ($160 million).
Playing in a total of 4,349 theaters in North America — the widest release in Fox history — Deadpool 2 was frontloaded. It earned a massive $18.6 million in Thursday-evening previews, followed by $53 million on Friday, the top opening day for an R-rated pic. Like Deadpool, the sequel earned an A CinemaScore from audiences. The film skewed male (61 percent), while a pleasing 38 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch, follows the irreverent Deadpool (Reynolds) 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. Reynolds produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
“The audience’s appetite for Merc with the Mouth hasn’t waned at all,” says Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. “And Ryan Reynolds was tireless in promoting this movie on a global basis.”
The foreign opening was up 7 percent when comparing like markets to like markets, while Deadpool 2 came in 5.5 percent behind Deadpool‘s domestic debut. (The first film bowed over the long Presidents Day/Valentine’s Day weekend.) Offshore, the U.K. led with $18 million, followed by South Korea ($17 million), Russia ($11.8 million), Australia ($11.7 million) and Mexico ($10.1 million).
Deadpool 2 — which hit theaters as the Fox film empire prepares for the Disney/21st Century Fox merger — easily toppled Disney and Marvel’s superhero mashup Infinity War from the top spot. The latter pic was no slouch, however, grossing $28.7 million in its fourth weekend to finish Sunday with a North American total of $595 million and topping the $1.8 billion mark worldwide.
Overseas, Infinity War earned another $84.4 million, fueled by another $53.7 million in China for a foreign total of $1.218 billion and global haul of $1.813 billion, the No. 4 gross of all time. In China, the film cleared the $300 million mark, a feat accomplished by only three other Hollywood titles. Paramount’s hit horror film A Quiet Place also made noise in China with an opening of nearly $18 million, bringing that movie’s global total to $296.5 million (many think the China debut will end up closer to $19 million).
Thanks in large part to the strength of Deadpool 2 and Infinity War, domestic revenue was up a staggering 64 percent over the same weekend last year, when new openers included Alien: Covenant.
Infinity War came in No. 2 over the weekend, followed by Paramount’s adult-skewing, female-fronted Book Club in third place with $12.5 million from 2,781 theaters, slightly ahead of expectations. An estimated 80 percent of ticket buyers were female, while nearly 90 percent of the audience was over 35 — including 60 percent over 50.
Directed by Bill Holderman, 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.
“In a weekend of Deadpool and the Royal Wedding … we hit the bullseye — we got the underserved audience this movie was made for, and who also don’t tend to come out opening weekend,” says a spokesperson for Paramount, which acquired rights to the movie for $10 million.
The third new nationwide offering of the weekend, Show Dogs, couldn’t quite find its bark. The family film opened in sixth place with $6 million from 3,145 cinemas.
Rated PG, the Global Road 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.
Both Book Club and Show Dogs earned an A- CinemaScore.
Back in the top five, Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party fell a steep 57 percent in its second weekend to $7.7 million for a domestic total of $31 million, and the Gabrielle Union thriller Breaking In fell even more in its sophomore outing, dipping 63 percent to $6.5 million for a 10-day total of $28.7 million.
New openings at the specialty box office included A24’s First Reformed, directed by Paul Schrader. The critically acclaimed film stars Ethan Hawke as a troubled pastor and Amanda Seyfried as a parishioner who comes to him for help.
Opening in four locations, First Reformed posted a solid per-screen average of roughly $25,067 upon grossing $100,270.
Days after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Focus Features’ documentary Pope Francis — A Man of His Word debuted in 346 cinemas in select markets across the U.S., grossing $480,000 for a per-screen average of $1,369.
That wasn’t enough to match another doc about a revered public figure — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — as RBG earned $1.3 million from 375 cinemas in its third outing for a domestic total of $3.9 million. Magnolia and Participant Media partnered on the film’s release.
A 70mm cut of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey scored the top location average of any film in a special engagement in four theaters. The special 50th anniversary screening, engineered by Warner Bros. with the help of Christopher Nolan, grossed $200,000 for a per-screen average of $50,000.
While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding on Saturday was a big draw on television, a special viewing in theaters couldn’t boast the same. According to early estimates, Fathom’s The Royal Wedding grossed roughly $54,000 from 194 theaters for an average of $278.
May 20, 8:30 a.m. Updated with foreign grosses.
Weekend Box Office 5/20/18
|1. Deadpool 2||$125.5M||$125.5M||4,349||1|
|2. Avengers: Infinity War||$29.5M||$595.8M||4,002||4|
|3. Book Club||$13.6M||$13.6M||2,781||1|
|4. Life of the Party||$7.6M||$30.9M||3,656||2|
|5. Breaking In||$6.8M||$20.1M||2,537||2|
|6. Show Dogs||$6.0M||$6.0M||3,212||1|
|8. A Quiet Place||$3.9M||$176.1M||2,327||7|
|10. I Feel Pretty||$1.3M||$46.6M||1,505||5|
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