Spending years floundering in development hell, the solo Deadpool film hit theaters at long last and it’s become a winner for 20th Century Fox. Critical reception is overwhelmingly positive (read our review), praising the movie’s sense of humor and fun. In addition, Deadpool is already setting the international box office ablaze, outperforming X-Men: Days of Future Past in some markets. It’s no surprise that the studio is already moving forward on the sequel.

Heading into its domestic opening weekend, some predicted that Deadpool would break records for the month of February, taking advantage of the stellar word-of-mouth amidst an uncompetitive marketplace. Those beliefs turned out to be true, and Deadpool is well on its way to becoming a huge hit in the States as well, making North American box office records fall.

Deadline is reporting that Deadpool grossed $41.5 million (including $12.7 million in Thursday previews) on its opening day, Friday, February 12. It is projected to bring in $102.5 million for the three-day weekend, and $115.3 million during the extended President’s Day weekend frame. That shatters the previous February record holder, Fifty Shades of Grey, which last year brought in $93 million during the same time period.

This news means that Deadpool will nearly double its $58 million production budget just from U.S. ticket sales alone, turning a hefty profit for Fox. Another record that will likely be broken is the all-time highest grossing opening weekend for an R-rated film, which is currently held by The Matrix Reloaded ($91.7 million). Deadpool is also, unsurprisingly, the biggest debut for star Ryan Reynolds, who finally gets his hit franchise after years of coming up short. It’s hard not to feel happy for the actor, since his passion and dedication for Wade Wilson played a huge role in making this movie a reality. All that waiting paid off into something worthwhile.

The sky is the limit in regards to how high Deadpool can go. Since the audience response has been so enthusiastic, it’s poised to dominate the remainder of the month. There aren’t many other high-profile releases coming out in the next few weeks, making Deadpool the one option with the widest range of appeal. It’s plausible to now wonder if Deadpool can become the highest-grossing X-Men branded movie ever made. The opening weekend is higher than that of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the four day total beats X-Men: The Last Stand, which grossed $233.9 million and $234.3 million total domestically, respectively. As long as Deadpool develops strong legs at the box office, these marks are very well in range.

Regardless of where it ends up on the Fox/Marvel charts, the film is undeniably a success for the studio. Those posing the question #WhyNotDeadpool knew these results were possible. The Merc With a Mouth is one of the most popular comic book characters, and this is a time where superhero movies are the dominant force in the zeitgeist. Interest in a Deadpool movie done right was always going to be there, it was just up to Fox to make it happen. Now they have, and they have a whole new franchise to compliment their growing X-Men universe for the foreseeable future. Time to make the chimichangas.

NEXT: Deadpool International Box Office Records

Deadpool is now in theaters, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.

Source: Deadline