‘Deadpool’ Box Office, Superhero Fatigue Strikes Again With A New Record

Fifteen years ago, Hannibal, the much-anticipated follow-up to The Silence of the Lambs, opened with a massive $58 million Friday-to-Sunday frame. At that time, said debut was not only the largest R-rated opening of all time but also the third-biggest Fri-Sun opening weekend ever, behind only Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace ($64m Fri-Sun) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park ($72m Fri-Sun). 2001 kicked off something of a gold rush regarding opening weekend-centric/front-loaded theatrical moviegoing. But the film that kicked it off turned out to be a relic of a bygone era, one of the last R-rated adult-skewing blockbusters we would see for quite some time. We have had 35 $100m+ opening weekends since 2002. None of them were R-rated. That is going to change tomorrow morning.
20thCenturyFox_FollowingIMG‘Deadpool’ image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

You can argue whether or not Deadpool) is as “adult-skewing” as Hannibal or even Universal/Comcast Corp.’s Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s about to become the biggest R-rated opening of all time and the first $100 million+ R-rated debut. Ladies and gentlemen, Deadpool just made $47.5 million in a single day. That’s the biggest R-rated single day gross in history, above the $42m opening Thursday (including $5m in Wednesday previews) of The Matrix Reloaded.
It was the biggest R-rated single day, the 39th biggest single day, the 21st biggest opening day, and the second-biggest day ever for a 20th Century Fox release behind the $50 million Thursday debut of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It’s pretty much the biggest opening day for a superhero comic book movie save the last two Dark Knight movies, Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, the two Avengers films, Spider-Man 3, and Man of Steel. So yes, the X-Men spin-off snagged a bigger opening day than any X-Men film. And by the way, while the film played in IMAX and PLF auditoriums, it did not go out in 3D.

The big question is whether or not the film is indeed “fan-person”-frontloaded (I hate the term “fanboy”) and is going to comparatively peter out after the first 24 hours or so. The optimist says that it will prove to be something of a Valentine’s Day weekend date night pick for both respective genders. Conventional wisdom says it’ll be frontloaded, but the Thursday-to-Friday numbers aren’t bearing that out to any extreme degree yet. The film earned 27% of its Friday via Thursday previews. That is a bit less than Lions Gate Entertainment’s The Hunger Games, Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s The Dark Knight, Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Walt Disney’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, or Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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