February 13, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Deadpool” Slays “Zoolander 2,” “How To Be Single” For Valentine’s Day


Are Americans tired of superhero movies?  There were whispers to that effect after The Avengers: Age of Ultron underperformed a bit and Fantastic Four outright flopped last year, but clearly the answer is Hell, No.  DEADPOOL (Marvel/20th) puts a new R-rated satiric spin on the genre (very carefully:  its jokes are aimed at Fox’s X-Men franchise, not the Disney-controlled Avengers), and it’s blowing away all expectations.  Early numbers at Deadline give it a massive $41.5M Friday (including $12.7M from Thursday night), a giant $11.2M higher than last year’s February record-breaker 50 Shades of GreyGrey ended up with $85.2M over its first 3-day weekend and $93M with Presidents Day, and Deadpool will crush those numbers with a likely $100M by Sunday and $115M by Monday.  The cherry on Fox’s cake is that due to the R rating and unusual tone, the production cost was kept down to around $60M, downright cheap for the genre, which means profits will be gigantic.

Deadpool might have seemed an unlikely hero for Valentine’s Day, but HOW TO BE SINGLE (MGM/RatPac/New Line/Warners) exists solely to be in theatres this weekend, with only moderate results.  Its $5.5M opening day should bring it to $19M by Sunday and $22M including Monday.  That’s a shadow of the $63M Valentine’s Day did with its opening 3 days in that slot 6 years ago, and not even as high as the $27.8M for About Last Night in 2014.  It’s about the same as the $18.9M for Message In A Bottle in 1999.  Single had a reasonable budget (but an expensive marketing campaign) and will hope to last in theatres long enough to break even.

The only thing sadder than a blatant cash-grab is one that fails, which brings us to ZOOLANDER 2 (Paramount), Ben Stiller’s long-belated sequel to the 2001 cult comedy.  With $4.4M on Friday, it’s only going to reach $15M by Sunday, possibly worse than the $15.5M earned by the original Zoolander 15 years ago–and that film had far cheaper production and marketing costs.  It’s also considerably below the $26.2M for Anchorman 2‘s opening weekend in December 2013, and without the engine of Christmas season, it won’t get anywhere near that comedy’s $125.2M total.

Holdovers will perform strongly this weekend due to the comparison between this week’s holiday Sunday and last week’s Super Bowl, and they’re led once again by KUNG FU PANDA 3 (DreamWorks Animation/20th), down 25% from last Friday to $3.9M and with a probable $22M by Sunday and $29M by Monday, which should put it over $100M.  It still seems unlikely to match Panda 2‘s $165.2M US total, but it could be close.

The two biggest Christmas season hits are still rolling along.  STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (LucasFilm/Disney) declined 31% from last Friday to $1.2M, and should earn an additional $8-9M by Monday, putting it at $917M.  THE REVENANT (Regency/20th) fell 36% to $1.3M on Friday and could be at $160M by Monday after a $7.5M holiday weekend.

HAIL, CAESAR! (Universal) was slammed with a 65% Friday-to-Friday plunge to $1.5M.  It could make its way to a $7.5M 4-day weekend, and won’t get much above $35M in the US, around the same level as The Ladykillers and Intolerable CrueltyTHE CHOICE (Lionsgate) fell 50% from last Friday to $1.2M, but a strong Valentine’s Day might get it to $5-6M by Monday, still on the path to just $25M in the US.  PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES (Screen Gems/Sony) collapsed by 66% on Friday to $700K, and may have a $10M total by Monday after a $3M long weekend, a dead (and not undead) loss.

Michael Moore’s WHERE TO INVADE NEXT (IMG) isn’t showing much with its 300-theatre opening, headed for perhaps a $3K per theatre average over the 4-day weekend.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."