Weekend Box Office: 'Deadpool 2' Earns Record $53.3M on Friday
Elsewhere, 'Book Club' is exceeding expectations, thanks to strong interest among older moviegoers.
Avengers: Infinity War finally has some competition.
Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox's summer event pic Deadpool 2 rocketed to a huge $53.3 million on Friday, the best opening day in history for an R-rated film. The previous champ was New Line's It ($50 million). Deadpool 2's Friday haul included $18.6 million in Thursday-evening previews.
The sequel has a shot at scoring the top opening of all time for an R-rated title if it bests the $132.4 million launch of Deadpool in February 2016. So far, it's pacing ahead of the first film, which grossed $47.4 million on its first Friday.
The Merc with the Mouth is now also a straight A student, with both films earning an A CinemaScore.
Playing in a total of 4,349 theaters in North America — the widest release in Fox history — Deadpool 2 will easily win the frame, ending Infinity War's three-week rule. Disney and Marvel's Infinity War is looking at a $28 million-$30 million weekend as it heads for the $1.8 billion mark at the worldwide box office. Infinity War grossed $7.2 million on Friday to come in at No. 2.
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 of $150 million-plus.
Reynolds reprises his role as the irreverant Deadpool in the follow-up. He produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
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.
A pair of smaller films also open nationwide: 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 exceeding expectations, earning roughly $4.7 million on Friday from 2,781 theaters for a projected $14 million-$15 million debut.
Conversely, Show Dogs may only earn $5 million-$6 million for the weekend from 3,145 cinemas (Global Road had hoped for slightly more).
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.
Both Book Club and Show Dogs earned an A- CinemaScore.
May 18, 12:15 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
May 19, 7:30 a.m. Updated with Friday grosses and revised weekend estimates.