By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Deadpool might not consider himself a superhero, but its latest installment is off to a powerful start.
The Marvel Comics film from 20th Century Fox debuted in North American with $125 million in 4,349 locations. That wasn’t enough to match the debut of its predecessor, 2016’s “Deadpool,” which had the biggest opening ever for an R-rated film with $132.4 million. The Ryan Reynolds-starrer bowed overseas with $176 million for a global weekend total of $301 million.
Although it debuted under estimates, “Deadpool 2’s” launch was nothing to complain about. It still secured the second-best opening for an R-rated film, as well as the third-biggest debut of the year behind Marvel blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther.” It also secured Fox its second-highest opening weekend in history.
The sequel is still boasting a promising critical consensus, with an 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating and an A CinemaScore.
“Deadpool 2’s” strong debut is a testament to Reynolds, according to Fox’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson.
“I just can’t say enough about him,” Aronson said. “Not just the character, but promoting it. I feel great about this opening.”
Its opening was enough to crush “Avengers: Infinity War’s” reign on the domestic box office. After securing the No. 1 spot for three weeks, the Disney and Marvel superhero tentpole dropped to second place. Its fourth weekend haul was still impressive, reeling in $29 million from 4,002 screens. “Infinity War’s” domestic tally currently sits at $595.4 million.
“Infinity War” was followed by Paramount Pictures’ new release, “Book Club.” The romantic comedy — starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen — came in slightly ahead of expectations, earning $12.3 million on 2,781 screens.
The weekend’s other newcomer, Global Road Entertainment’s “Show Dogs,” landed in sixth place, only digging up $6 million from 3,212 locations. The family-friendly comedy garnered an A CinemaScore. Its Rotten Tomatoes critical score didn’t fare quite as well, averaging a 26 percent.
Rounding out the top five are two film’s sophomore frames. Warner Bros.’ “Life of the Party” rallied in $7.5 million from 3,656 locations. Domestically, it has made $30.9 million. Universal’s “Breaking In” secured $6.5 million on 2,537 screens. In two weeks, it’s earned $28.8 million.
In the specialty market, Focus Features’ “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” opened with $480,000 on 346 screens for a per screen average of $1,389.
“RBG,” the documentary on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is still holding strong. In its third weekend, it expanded to 375 locations for a three-day total of $1.28 million. That’s a per screen average of $3,413. Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media co-produced the film with Storyville Films and CNN Films.
Thanks to a trio of superhero powerhouses, the domestic box office is up 6.3 percent from 2017, according to comScore. The weekend-to-date is up a staggering 62.9 percent, compared to 2017 when “Alien: Covenant” was the No. 1 film.
“A crowded powerhouse of a mid-May weekend benefitted from a very diverse lineup of newcomers to appeal to almost every taste and demographic,” Paul Dergarabedian, box office analysis at comScore, said.