Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool” could score between $80 million and $90 million at the U.S. box office over Presidents’ Day weekend, early estimates showed Friday.

The film grossed $12.7 million at 2,975 locations during screenings that started at 7 p.m. Thursday evening, setting a record for Thursday night preview openings for an R-rated film — easily topping the $10.4 million generated by “The Hangover Part II” in 2011.

Friday estimates showed an opening day of over $30 million for “Deadpool.”

Fox’s “Deadpool,” a comic book adaptation about a wise-cracking mercenary, looks likely to blow past earlier forecasts this week, which predicted as much as $70 million over the four-day weekend at 3,558 locations. Fox had been pegging a debut between $60 million to $65 million.

“Deadpool” may even threaten the record for biggest Presidents’ Weekend launch in history, behind only “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” $93 million debut a year ago. The movie began winning over fans last summer at Comic-Con with footage of the prolifically profane superhero and the breaking of the fourth wall.

Fox has promoted “Deadpool” extensively, stressing its comic elements with taglines such as “Wait Til You Get a Load of Me.” The film, directed by Tim Miller with a $58 million budget, also stars Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller and Gina Carano. It has an impressive 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Deadpool” already launched solidly with $14 million in seven international markets starting with Tuesday night previews. It racked up $3.4 million in the United Kingdom, marking the fifth-highest grossing opening day for a Marvel film.

Two other new comedies are expected to finish the four days in the $25 million-plus range — Paramount’s “Zoolander 2,” which brings back Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander 15 years after the original at 3,394 locations, and New Line-MGM’s “How to Be Single,” starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson, across 3,343 theaters.

Both comedies appeared to be heading for about $8 million each on Friday.


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