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Your Anti-Valentine Is Here!

Box Office Brasserie: Movie News For Movie Lovers

Love hurts. Love stings. Love  bites. So…you might as well just laugh at it. That’s the message Hollywood is sending this Valentine’s weekend, as two very different R-rated flicks bent on tickling your funny bone, “Deadpool” and “How to Be Single,” take center stage, along with the follow-up to the cult comedy classic, Ben Stiller’s “Zoolander 2.”

It’s quite apparent that Fox is totally crushing on crimson spandex-clad superheroes. “Deadpool” dishes out his particular brand of nasty justice this weekend, while the studio’s “Daredevil” delivered a #1 opening with $40M exactly 13 years ago.

While Ben Affleck’s “Daredevil” was seen as a disappointment (i.e., didn’t produce a trilogy), “Deadpool” looks like a box office bullseye as star Ryan Reynolds and company look primed to not only mop up the floor with the competition this weekend, but punch up a new franchise in the process.

That’s something that Reynolds wasn’t able to do with WB’s “Green Lantern” just five years ago, a film that was way off-target in its execution and missed the mark by a wide margin with audiences.  Making fun of Warner’s sci-fi misfire was part of the gleefully wicked campaign by Fox, which has been not only relentless, but also as scathing as it is hilarious.

“Deadpool” is the perfect anti-Valentine, as well as the cure-all that ails superhero flicks lately—it’s anti-everything and audiences will eat it up. Debuting in 3,400+ venues, expect upwards of $60M for the traditional weekend and possibly $70M+ for the 4-day stretch.

If it hits that mark, “Deadpool” would be the highest-grossing R-rated comic book opening ever, besting “Watchmen,” which was hot off the heels of Zack Snyder’s “300,” as it rolled out to $55M in March of 2009.

Reynolds appeared as Wade Wilson/Deadpool once before in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”; however, he plays a much more, fully realized version in this incarnation.

Antihero flicks in the realm of comic books have been hit and miss; “Kick-Ass” and its sequel performed ok, while Will Smith’s “Hancock,” despite mostly poor reviews, knocked out over $600M+ worldwide.

“Deadpool” is cleaning up with the critics; it currently has an 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s pretty solid for a snarky R-rated actioner, directed by first-timer, Tim Miller.

Dakota Johnson is back in theaters. No, not to torture you with the sequel to last year’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which popped off with a massively embarrassing (for the American public) $85M, but in the ensemble love dramedy, “How to Be Single.”

Rebel Wilson also stars, along with Leslie Mann and Damon Wayans Jr.  These types of pics have been successful in the past during Cupid’s reign, including “Valentine’s Day,” “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”

In 3,250+ love nests, expect  “How to Be Single” to snuggle up to $20M for the 3-day stretch, $25M for the extended weekend.

Comedy knows no boundaries, nor time limitations…especially for sequels. “Anchorman” and  “Dumb and Dumber To” proved recently that you can indeed go back to the comedy well.

In fact, despite the nearly decade-long gap, Paramount’s “Anchorman 2” actually grossed more than the original by a considerable amount–$90M vs. $173M worldwide.

Those kind of numbers are likely the reason “Zoolander 2” was given the greenlight, despite having tallied up just $45M back in 2001. It’s also been a cult classic for years, and with Stiller’s star fading a bit, no time like the present to sequel-ize.

In 3,200+ theaters, expect this to be very popular amongst hipsters, teens, and families—a core demographic that may push this to $30M over the extended weekend, over twice what the original debuted with.

They say all you need to make a movie is a camera. Michael Moore is proof of that. His latest watchdog confession, “Where to Invade Next,” drops in 300+ theaters this weekend, without the support of a traditional studio or even an indie powerhouse.

Instead, Drafthouse Films handles the release of his R-rated documentary, which is primed to be another jumping off point for the hot button issue of what’s wrong with America today.

Moore’s biggest hit was 2004’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” released by Lionsgate, and the only documentary to ever earn more than $100M+ domestic and $200M+ worldwide.

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WEEKEND ESTIMATES

  1. Deadpool – $61M
  2. Zoolander 2 – $23M
  3. How to Be Single – $20M
  4. Kung Fu Panda 3 – $13M
  5. Hail, Caesar! – $7M

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PRIME CUT OF THE WEEK: Disney’s “The Jungle Book” (April 15, 2016)

This just keeps looking better and better. Another beautiful family flick from Jon Favreau, who’s quietly become one of the most versatile directors in the business.

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PRIME CLIP OF THE WEEK: Universal’s “Jason Bourne” (July 29, 2016)

The most action packed moment in all of Super Bowl 50. Welcome back, Matt Damon…you have been missed.

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“Deadpool” Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at Jeff@NewsWhistle.com.