(Bloomberg) -- This weekend, Marvel superheroes went up against a Marvel anti-hero, and the so-called merc with the mouth came out on top.
“Deadpool 2,” a sequel to the surprise 2016 hit from 21st Century Fox, collected $125.5 million in its opening weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ComScore Inc. estimated in an email Monday. It toppled Walt Disney Co.’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” which held first place for the last three weeks and registered $29.5 million. Counter-programming new movies “Book Club” and “Show Dogs” earned $13.6 million and $6 million, respectively.
With the “Deadpool” sequel, Fox doubled down on the racy R-rated franchise. It spent double the budget of the first film before marketing costs, and launched a viral marketing campaign that included a music video with Celine Dion and guest-editing Good Housekeeping magazine. As Deadpool’s popularity grows with fans, one unanswered question is how the foul-mouth Wade Wilson -- the anti-hero’s alter-ego -- will fit into the family-friendly canon of Disney movies.
“Deadpool 2” fell a bit short of the first installment, which earned $132 million in its opening weekend, and set a record for the biggest opening weekend and widest release for an R-rated movie.
In the sequel, the characters have widened to include Josh Brolin as Cable. Ryan Reynolds and T.J. Miller return as Deadpool and his sidekick Weasel, as they bring together a team of mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from Cable. The film scored 85 percent positive reviews, according to aggregator Rottentomatoes.com, though only 67 percent of top critics liked the movie.
It cost $110 million to make, before marketing costs, and was expected to open to about $138 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The studio had a more conservative estimate, while other box office trackers, like Hollywood Stock Exchange, pegged the opening weekend at around $152 million.
Paramount Pictures’ “Book Club” was one of two other new wide releases. Four women, played by a cast that includes Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda, discover the erotic “Fifty Shades of Grey” book series, which in turn affects their romantic lives. It scored well with critics, with 63 percent giving positive notices, according to RottenTomatoes.com. The movie came in third place, and beat Box Office Pro’s projection of $11.2 million.
Global Road’s “Show Dogs” fell short of both Box Office Pro’s predictions of fourth place and $8.2 million. The family comedy about the pairing of a human detective, played by Will Arnett, and a canine partner, voiced by rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, go undercover at a dog show to solve a big police case. It earned only 33 percent positive reviews, according to RottenTomatoes. The film came in sixth place.
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