“Deadpool 2” shot to $18.6 million at the Thursday box office, surpassing its predecessor which earned $12.7 million in previews two years ago.
The sequel also broke the R-rated Thursday box office record that was previously held by “It.” The horror film grossed $13.5 million last September in previews.
Independent trackers expect the film to at least match the $132 million opening weekend scored by the first “Deadpool” in 2016, which was then a record for February releases.a
For more comparisons, “Black Panther” grossed $25.2 million in previews, while “Thor: Ragnarok” thundered to $14.5 million. The former took in a total of $202 million its opening weekend, while “Ragnarok” grossed $122.7 million.
“Deadpool 2” sees the titular antihero start a new mutant team called X-Force to protect a young, surly mutant named Firefist (Julian Dennison) from falling into the clutches of Cable. In addition to starring as Deadpool, Reynolds shares writing credit with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, with David Leitch directing. Morena Baccarin, Zazie Beetz, Brianna Hildebrand, and Jack Kesy also star. After early reviews, the film has an 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, nearly identical to the score earned by its predecessor.
As counter-programming, Paramount is rolling out “Book Club,” which earned $625,000 in previews. It stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as a group of lifelong friends who decide to jumpstart their sluggish love lives after reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Tracking has the film only making $10-12 million from 2,800 locations, with Paramount projecting a $9 million start.
“Book Club” is directed by Bill Holderman in his directorial debut from a script he co-wrote with Erin Simms. Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, and Richard Dreyfuss also star. The film holds a score of 61 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Finally, there’s Global Road’s “Show Dogs,” a kids’ action-comedy developed by Open Road Films prior to its acquisition by Tang Media Group. The film is expected to open to $7 million from 3,145 locations. The film stars Will Arnett as a human detective who must go undercover at a dog show with his canine partner (voiced by Ludacris). Raja Gosnell directed the film from a script by Max Botkin and Marc Hyman.
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