'Deadpool' beats all expectations with record-breaking $135 million opening weekend -- and it's not slowing down

Turns out audiences will flock to an adult-focused superhero movie.

Exceeding beyond what its studio, 20th Century Fox, or anyone else in Hollywood thought it could earn, “Deadpool” has become the highest-grossing February release of all time with a three-day weekend total of $135 million, according to Exhibitor Relations. And the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend isn’t even over yet.

Projections have the latest Marvel movie to be at around $150 million by the time the four-day weekend ends (the film was made for around $58 million).

These figures blow away the openings of some superhero titles with great pedigrees, like “Man of Steel” ($116 million opening) and 2002’s “Spider-Man” ($114 million).

“Deadpool” shattered the previous February record set last year by Universal’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” which had a three-day total of $85 million and a four-day of $93 million. “Deadpool” also now owns the biggest Friday opening in the month, with $47.5 million (“Grey” was also the previous record-holder with $30.2 million).

Throwing a comic book movie in February, a time of year in the movie business where studios don’t release their big guns, might seem like a no brainer. But “Deadpool” is not your typical Marvel movie.

One of the franchise’s most controversial characters with his foul language and graphically violent storylines, the movie, with Ryan Reynolds playing the lead, has been in development for close to a decade. With trepidation that there would be enough of a fanbase to come out to theatres, and narrowing the audience that goes to see superhero movies as Fox went with a hard R-rating for the movie, it turns out it all payed off as “Deadpool” proves that you can stay true to a character’s roots and still rake in the dough.

It seems “Deadpool” has tapped into the market of fanboys who wanted to see edgier material on screen and not the regular do-gooders like “The Avengers.” Not to mention that it’s filled with jokes about Reynolds, digs at other comics, and pop culture references that gives it a unique feel.

This all bodes well for darker comic book adaptations coming out later this year — “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” (though both didn’t go the R route, and will be released as PG-13).

“Deadpool” also demolished the weekend competition, as the relationship comedy “How To Be Single” took in an estimated $18 million over three days, and “Zoolander 2” took in an disappointing $13 million, according to Variety.

Now, the first “Zoolander” did horrible at the box office too, but with the cult following it built Paramount was at least hoping for a $20 million opening. Sadly, with a 22% Rotten Tomatoes rating, it might have been better to pass on the sequel.

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