20th Century Fox's Deadpool earned $12.7m Thursday evening in preview showings, according to Deadline. That breaks a record previously held by 2011's Hangover 2 with $10.4m for highest opening Thursday box office for an R-rated film. The Ryan Reynolds-led film opened in 2,975 theaters, but expands to 3,557 for the weekend.
That $12.7m also puts Deadpool ahead of other recent superhero film contemparies. Guardians of the Galaxy had a Thursday preview box office of $11.2m, while X-Men: Days of Future Past earned $8.1m, and Ant-Man only $6.4m.
The online Hollywood trade currently projects Deadpool to earn between $60-$65m in its opening weekend, however some such as BoxOffice say it could reach $100m by the end of the four-day holiday weekend. For a point of reference, 300 and Watchmen earned $70.9m and $55.2m, respectively, and were both R-rated films based on comic books.
Additionally, online ticket retailers Fandango and MovieTickets.com revealed large advance ticket sales. Deadpool has been Fandango's top seller for the last two weeks, beating the sales of Marvel Studios' Ant-Man during the same timeframe. For its part, MovieTickets.com said that nearly 70% of its ticket sales on Wednesday were for Deadpool.