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‘Deadpool’ to Pummel Box Office Competition Over President’s Weekend

Ryan Reynolds is looking to achieve box office redemption with “Deadpool.”

After seeing his once-white hot career flicker at a low ebb, diminished by flops such as “R.I.P.D.” and “Green Lantern,” the actor seems to have rediscovered his mojo. “Deadpool,” a very R-rated comic book adaptation about a wise-cracking mercenary, is on track to do as much as $70 million over the four-day President’s Weekend when it opens in more than 3,540 locations. Fox, the studio behind the picture is being more conservative, pegging a debut between $60 million to $65 million.

Whatever the final result, “Deadpool” has a very strong chance of enjoying the second biggest President’s Weekend launch in history, behind only “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” $93 million debut. It should also be a boon to Reynolds. The actor played Deadpool in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” and has been agitating for a standalone adventure for some time. The picture got a big boost when it screened footage last summer at ComicCon — crowds at the gathering hollered and cheered, won over by Deadpool’s fourth-wall breaking and liberal use of four-letter words. “Deadpool” has a budget of $58 million.

There’s evidence that the film is reaching beyond the fanboy set. Advance ticket sales have been strong, with Fandango reporting that “Deadpool” has been its top seller this month. It’s currently out-pacing “Ant-Man” at a similar point in its sales cycle. That Marvel summer release opened to $57.2 million over its first three days.

“Deadpool” isn’t the only character getting a revival this weekend. Ben Stiller is bringing back Derek Zoolander 15 years after the dim-bulb male model first strutted down the runway and flashed his signature “Magnum” look. “Zoolander 2” reunites Stiller with his co-stars from the first film, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, and brings in series newcomers such as Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig. It is on track to do $25 million for the four-day holiday. In comparison, “Anchorman 2,” another follow-up to a cult comedy earned $26.2 million when it debuted in 2013. “Zoolander 2” cost more than $50 million to produce. Paramount will launch the film in 3,300 locations.

With “Deadpool” appealing primarily to men, the romantic comedy “How to Be Single” will try to position itself as the de facto choice for female moviegoers. The NewLine/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film stars Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann and Dakota, Johnson and centers on a group of women people trying to navigate dating life in New York. The modern day “Sex and the City” should pull in $21 million over the first four days. Warner Bros. will distribute the picture, which cost $38 million to produce, across 3,343 theaters.

Last weekend’s champ, “Kung Fu Panda 3” should show some endurance given that many school children will be out on vacation. The animated sequel’s domestic total stands at just more than $70 million and it should be in striking distance of the $100 million mark following the celebration of all things Oval Office.

In limited release, Michael Moore will unveil “Where to Invade Next,” a comic examination of Europe’s response to problems ranging from gun violence to healthcare.

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