‘Deadpool’ Aims for Biggest R-Rated Superhero Box Office Opening

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — “Deadpool” is an R-rated superhero movie full of graphic violence and offensive language, and that may be actually a good thing for its box office.

The 20th Century Fox film, which stars Ryan Reynolds as the sardonic self-aware Marvel superhero, brought in $12.7 million for Thursday night preview showings, which is the largest R-rated Thursday preview opening ever, according to the studio.

“Deadpool” is projected to bring in a three-day opening of about $60 million to $70 million in North America, according to box office analysts.

If it notches that total, it’ll become one of the best openings in the history of February and the biggest R-rated superhero film ever, overtaking “Watchmen” which made $55.2 million in 2009.

Fox, however, is keeping its expectations conservative, forecasting a three-day total of $50 million to $55 million.

“Deadpool” could be perhaps the most unlikely of blockbusters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “Yet, this film is shaping up as a mid-February Valentine gift to the fans, the studio and Reynolds himself.”

While the general public may not know the name Deadpool, the character whose super power is super fast self-healing, is one of Marvel’s most beloved titles, and after years of production delays fans are more than ready to finally see the hero on the big screen.

“‘Deadpool’ has blown away fellow adapted comic book and graphic novel titles on social media,” said Shawn Robbins, senior analyst at BoxOffice.com. “That’s partly due to the studio’s superb ad campaign, but there’s also clear excitement for a fresh, comedic, and decidedly ‘adult’ take on the superhero genre, and it’s not just coming from fans.”

While including characters from the Marvel canon, “Deadpool” isn’t a part of Disney’s Marvel Studios which includes Captain America and Iron Man. The red and black suited hero instead finds himself fighting alongside members of the X-Men, who are also owned by Fox.

The film holds a 84% score on review site RottenTomatoes.com with critics crediting it as a fun — if albeit raunchy — spoof of the whole supehero blockbuster brand.

For Fox, “Deadpool” also looks to rights the wrongs of the studio’s last Marvel picture, “Fantastic Four,” which was completely clobbered at the box office in August.

And for Reynolds, the film is a chance for the actor to break away from his last go round in tights as DC’s Green Lantern, a performance that was panned by fans and critics.