Deadpool trailer
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool” scored a killer record on Thursday night.

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

Fox’s “Deadpool,” a comic book adaptation about a wise-cracking mercenary, took in $2.3 million from Imax showings on Thursday night and is on track to haul as much as $70 million over the four-day President’s Weekend at 3,558 locations. Fox has been pegging a debut between $60 million to $65 million.

Warner Bros.’ romantic comedy “How to Be Single” took in a respectable $700,000 at Thursday night previews.

“Deadpool” could enjoy the second-biggest President’s 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.

Paramount is bringing back Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander 15 years after the original. “Zoolander 2” reunites Stiller with his co-stars from the first film, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, and introduces newcomers such as Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig. It is on track to earn $25 million for the four-day holiday at 3,394 locations.

“How to Be Single,” starring Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson, should pull in $21 million over the first four days. Warner Bros. will distribute the New Line-MGM picture, which cost $38 million to produce, across 3,343 theaters.

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