Deadpool 2 appears to be already setting records for an R-rated movie thanks to a massive turnout at the film's Thursday night preview screenings. The bar was set high for Deadpool 2, star and co-writer Ryan Reynolds' hotly-anticipated sequel to the 2016 blockbuster, which during its theatrical run became only the third R-rated film in movie history to crack the $300 million mark at the domestic box office. Released in February of 2016, Deadpool played in theaters until June of that year, amassing $363 million domestically and $420 million overseas for a dazzling global cume of $783 million.
Naturally, the stakes are high for Deadpool 2, considering the film's release is coming during the summer movie season. The film certainly has momentum, critically, going into its theatrical run, garnering positive first-look reactions and being certified fresh by Rotten Tomatoes with 84 percent "fresh" rating by movie review aggregator. Now, it's the audience's turn to either follow the critics' lead on the film or wait to attend the next potential big box office bonanza.
Related: Screen Rant's Deadpool 2 review
According to Deadline, it appears to the first scenario, as Deadpool 2 raked in $15 million-plus at the box office previews Thursday night, besting the old R-rated movie record set by Stephen King's It, which pulled in $13.5 million in its opening night in September. Deadline was careful to note that it was the outlet's projections and not Deadpool 2 studio 20th Century Fox, and that initial estimates could rise as high as $16 million to $18 million. By contrast, the first Deadpool made $12.7 million in Thursday night previews on its way to its $152.1 million 4-day opening weekend.
Whether the numbers stay at $15 million or rise to $18 million, the big turnout will be welcome news to Fox, given that the film is playing at 4,349 theaters – the widest-ever release for a film from the studio. Plus, if the preliminary numbers hold up, it bodes extremely well for Deadpool 2, which, according to early tracking estimates, was set to make a so-so $100 million in its opening frame.
Deadline says more recent estimates by Fox placed the opening weekend in the $130 million range, while others are bullishly insisting it could be as high as $150 million. That would put the film on par with the massive opening of the first film, and certainly give Fox an extra shot of confidence as it preps Deadpool's entry into the studio's X-Force movie.
Records notwithstanding, Deadpool 2 appears to have achieved what few smash films have done before and broken the sequel curse. By wisely bringing Cable (Josh Brolin), Domino (Zazie Beetz). and other mutants into the fold, Reynolds and company were clearly intent on not delivering a virtual repeat of the brilliant original. In many ways, they transcended the possibilities laid out for them with the follow-up, from the opening frames of the film to second scene in the end credits – which some are calling the best post-credits scene ever. Deadpool, as fans know, loves to talk, but it's an absolute relief that the Merc with a Mouth is putting his money where his mouth is.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018