Weekend Box Office: 'Deadpool 2' Earns Record-Shattering $18.6M in Previews


Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox’s superhero sequel opens two years after the first ‘Deadpool’ hit theaters.

Avengers: Infinity War finally has some competition.

Ryan Reynolds and 20th Century Fox's summer event pic Deadpool 2 rocketed to a huge $18.6 million in Thursday-night previews from 3,785 theaters, a record for an R-rated pic.

The previous record holder was It ($13.5 million). Prior to It, the first Deadpool had boasted the top preview gross for an R-rated film ($12.7 million). Deadpool, opening in February 2016, went on to debut to a massive $132.4 million, the best launch ever for an R-rated film.

Deadpool 2 — a darling among critics — seems destined to make some history of its own, if the preview number is an indication.

On Friday morning, Deadpool 2 will be playing in a total of 4,349 theaters in North America, where it will easily win the weekend with a debut in the $130 million to $150 million range, ending Infinity War's three-week rule.

Overseas, Deadpool 2 is opening in most major markets timed to its U.S. launch — one major exception is China — for a projected foreign debut of $150 million-plus

Reynolds reprises his role as Deadpool in the follow-up. He produced the sequel and co-wrote the script with his Deadpool collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch, follows the irreverent superhero as he forms an X-Force posse in hopes of stopping the evil Cable (Josh Brolin). Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand and Jack Kesy co-star.

A pair of smaller films also open nationwide this week: Paramount's female-fronted Book Club and Global Road's family offering Show Dogs.

Targeting older femmes, director Bill Holderman's Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey — with unintended consequences.

Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson play the love interests. Book Club is tracking to open in the $9 million-$10 million range after grossing a respectable $625,000 in Thursday-evening previews. That's on par with such pics as Sisters, Overboard and The Intern.

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