Deadpool, the R-rated Marvel movie featuring Ryan Reynolds as a foul-mouthed, irreverent superhero, has soared to a head-turning, historic opening weekend at the US box office taking $US135 million ($190 million), according to studio estimates.
Deadpool set a slew of new records - the biggest R-rated opening (beating 2003's The Matrix Reloaded with $US91.8 million), the biggest February weekend and the biggest President's Day holiday weekend (beating 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey at $US85.2 million for both).
Deadpool is expected to take an overwhelming $US150 million over the complete four-day holiday weekend in the US. The film opened in Australia last week and is classified with an MA rating.
It's all shocking considering the restrictive R-rating and that the surging movie was looking to make a top-end projection of $US90 million going into what looked to be an already wildly-successful weekend, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst for ComScore tracking service.
"Deadpool just kept going up and up. Obliterating expectations just doesn't cover this," says Dergarabedian. "And rather than hurting, the R-rating actually helped. It made the film an edgy, must-see superhero event. It's just incredible."
The victory is especially sweet for Reynolds who has worked for 11 years to bring the irreverent Deadpool character to the big screen and who suffered a superhero setback with the 2011 flop Green Lantern, a portrayal even Reynolds mocked in Deadpool.
Deadpool was a hit on every level, scoring an 84 per cent positive rating by critics on RottenTomatoes.com and an A on CinemaScore. Producer Simon Kinberg told USA Today he had sent out a special gift to Reynolds and his co-stars to celebrate - boxed white wine rather than champagne.
"It's more in keeping with Deadpool, who is not going to drink champagne," Kingberg said. "So we had (terrible) boxed wine sent to these guys for the weekend. It was either that or wine coolers. Keeping it classy."
Deadpool laid to waste the other major film openings, which included Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's Zoolander 2 and How To Be Single.
Second place for the weekend went to Jack Black's family-friendly animated Kung Fu Panda 3, which made $US19.65 million (for a total of $US94 million after three weeks of release). Panda 3 is projected to pass the $US100 million mark at the end of the four-day weekend.
How To Be Single took third place with $US18.75 million. The story of New Yorkers (Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, Leslie Mann) dealing with single life scored a low 47 per cent critical rating on RottenTomatoes.com and a B audience grade on CinemaScore.
Zoolander 2, director Stiller's starring effort with Wilson to bring back their famed male models from 2001's Zoolander, ended in a catwalk stumble and a disappointing fourth place opening with $15.56 million (with a four-day estimate of $18 million). Jeff Bock, box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, says the other new movies were run over by the runaway Deadpool train.
"Deadpool just crushed Zoolander 2," says Bock. "There wasn't any room in the media or the national conversation for anything other than Deadpool."
Zoolander 2 didn't help matters by landing a paltry 23 per cent critical rating on RottenTomatoes and a C+ grade on CinemaScore.
Leonardo DiCaprio's starring turn in the awards contender The Revenant rounded out the top 5 with $6.9 million for a total of $159 million after eight weeks.