With the Super Bowl box office blues behind them, distributors are drooling over what is expected to be a huge four-day Presidents’ Day weekend, further boosted by Valentine’s Day falling on Sunday. Whenever the lovers’ day falls on a Saturday, such as last year when Fifty Shades of Grey posted a record February debut of $85.2M, that’s ideal. But when Valentine’s falls on a Sunday and Monday is a holiday, the sky is still the limit.
As such look for 20th Century Fox’s R-Rated Marvel film Deadpool to shoot a Friday through Monday take between $60M-$65M at 3,557 theaters. Thursday shows start at 7PM. Non-Fox distribution executives think it can go potentially much higher into the February record books, but we’ll wait and see. Tracking has been a little funky lately. Deadpool will have some extra bullets in its B.O. chamber from 374 Imax and 475 PLF screens. No 3D. Nonetheless, that opening will come as a welcome number for 20th Century Fox whose last $120M Marvel reboot The Fantastic Four was left powerless at the B.O. with a final domestic take of $56.1M. The studio was more frugal with Deadpool relegating it to an estimated $58M production cost.
Deadpool would also come as boom for leading man Ryan Reynolds whose last superhero title The Green Lantern ($200M production cost) didn’t turn any black for Warner Bros. after a $220M global take. The last R-rated superhero film to hit the box office was Warner Bros.’ beloved DC property The Watchmen which opened to $55.2M and finaled stateside at $107.5M in March 2009. While that was a notable opening for an adult comic book feature adaptation, Watchmen carried the yoke of a $130M production cost. At ComicCon last July, Fox got the ball rolling with a trailer for Deadpool that fans promptly tried to post illegally on the internet. Reynolds reprises his role of Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, who co-starred in the 2009 May hit X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Deadpool follows Wilson, a mercenary, who after an experiment, is left with accelerated healing powers. He makes it his mission to hunt down the guy who threatened his life. T.J. Miller co-stars. Deadpool already has an 81% Rotten Tomatoes fresh score. Deadpool‘s reach per one non-Fox executive studying tracking: “Everyone”.
The next two releases are trending big with women and are currently looking at low to mid $20Ms over four days: New Line/MGM’s How to Be Single starring Pitch Perfect 2‘s Rebel Wilson and Fifty Shades’ Dakota Johnson as well as Ben Stiller’s all-star comedy Zoolander 2 from Paramount. On Valentine’s Day, the ladies decide what movie they’re dragging their lovers too. If they decide to leave their man at home or at Deadpool, then the trend is that, young or old, women head to the cinema in packs. Older ladies pre-plan their movie trips, while the under 25ers decide at the last minute and frequent late nights shows.
How to Be Single also stars Alison Brie and Leslie Mann. The pic’s production cost is in the upper $30M range and is split between MGM, New Line and Warner Bros. Wilson’s Pitch Perfect 2 was a surprise May opener, stealing No. 1 away from Warner Bros.’ Mad Max: Fury Road with a FSS of $69.2M. This R-rated ladies movie will play at 3,343 locations with previews starting at 7PM on Thursday.
The first Zoolander directed by and starring Ben Stiller opened to $15.5M and ended its domestic run with $45.2M. It played at a time following the Sept. 11 attacks when some weren’t sure whether Americans were ready to head back to the cinema. However, many distribution suits at the time emphasized that the September box office was soft due to the time of year; the attacks did not throw a monkey wrench into turnstiles. Zoolander 2 carries an estimated production cost before P&A that is slightly north of $50M. Of course, this sequel wouldn’t be made close to 15 years after the original unless it was a cash cow on home entertainment. Thursday previews are at 7PM. By Friday, spy fashionistas Derek Zoolander and Hansel will be in about 3,300 theaters.
The No. 1 two weekend champ Kung Fu Panda 3 from DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox will ease to $17M-$18M over four-days ($13M-$14M over FSS). The threequel will cross $100M not this weekend, but next.