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Box Office: ‘Zootopia’ to Take Down ‘Deadpool’ With Huge $60 Million-Plus Debut

Deadpool” has finally met his match.

A collection of adorable critters is poised to take down the “Merc with a mouth” this weekend, as Disney’s “Zootopia” debuts to north of $60 million. That should be enough to pry “Deadpool” from the first place position it has held for three consecutive weekends.

But “Deadpool” continues to be a powerhouse, and studio executives and analysts believe the comic book movie has a good chance of supplanting the record held by “Passion of the Christ” ($370.8 million) as the highest domestic gross for an R-rated film. It has earned $287.6 million since opening on Feb. 12 and should add another $20 million to its winnings this weekend.

Zootopia,” the story of a rabbit (Ginnifer Goodwin) trying to establish herself as a cop in a city filled with anthropomorphic animals, has enjoyed glowing reviews, nabbing a 100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It bows in 3,827 theaters, including 365 Imax, 325 premium large format and 3,100 3D engagements. Disney didn’t release a budget, but most animated films carry a production price tag in excess of $100 million. The film has been in overseas release for three weeks and heads into its domestic debut having already racked up $90 million in foreign ticket sales.

The weekend won’t just be about urban-dwelling animals and bunnies sworn to uphold the law. Days after seeing “Gods of Egypt” crash in spectacular fashion, Gerard Butler will seek commercial redemption with “London Has Fallen.” The follow-up to White House-in-peril action film “Olympus Has Fallen” finds Butler back as an ass-kicking Secret Service agent, along with Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman returning as the president and vice president. It’s been a hazard-prone administration. In addition to moving the action across the pond, the threats this time aren’t merely consigned to the U.S. executive branch. A funeral for the British prime minister is upended in the wake of a terrorist attack, putting a panoply of foreign leaders in jeopardy. Focus Features is distributing the picture, which was made for roughly $60 million. It will bow across 3,490 domestic locations, where it should pull in $22 million. For context’s sake, the first “Olympus” opened to $30 million in 2013.

The weekend will also host “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” a comedy that finds Tina Fey reporting from a war zone. Paramount produced the $35 million production about a correspondent in Afghanistan who gets a little too attracted to getting the scoop in a dangerous region. It is expected to bring in $12 million for the weekend.

In limited release, Broad Green will open Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York. The film follows a writer (Christian Bale) on his quest to find love and purpose against the backdrop of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Fresh off its best picture victory at last Sunday’s Academy Awards, Open Road will push journalism drama “Spotlight” from 685 theaters to 1,212 locations, hoping to capitalize on the Oscar love.

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