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'Deadpool 2' tops 'Avengers' but fails to surpass its predecessor

'Deadpool 2' tops 'Avengers' but fails to surpass its predecessor
Brianna Hildebrand and Ryan Reynolds in "Deadpool 2." (Joe Lederer / Twentieth Century Fox)

Two Josh Brolin-led Marvel movies dominated the domestic box office this weekend, led by 20th Century Fox's "Deadpool 2."

"It's Deadpool's world and we're just living in it," said Chris Aronson, the studio's president of distribution.

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The film opened in first place with $125 million, the second biggest debut for an R-rated film ever, though below analysts' predictions of $130 million to $150 million.

A sequel to 2016's mega-successful "Deadpool," the film failed to beat the original's opening weekend haul of $132.4 million, which Aronson says may be because of the original's holiday-weekend launch.

"I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that we opened the original on a huge moviegoing weekend that included Valentine's Day on Sunday and Presidents Day on Monday," Aronson said. "It was one of those strange weekends where the calendar conspired to have both of those moviegoing days in the same weekend. So the fact that we're in a non-holiday weekend and we're only 5.5% behind, we're not alarmed at all. In fact we're extremely heartened."

Starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular "merc with the mouth," "Deadpool 2" cost an estimated $110 million to produce and stars Brolin as the film's villain, Cable.

Also starring "Atlanta" star Zazie Beetz as Domino, the film earned positive reviews from audiences and critics with an A rating on CinemaScore and an 83% "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Bumped from the top spot for the first time in four weeks, Disney's "Avengers: Infinity War" came in second, adding an additional $28.7 million in ticket sales for a cumulative $595 million.

The film, which also features Brolin in the villain role as Thanos, took in $113.1 million worldwide this weekend, for a global cumulative of $1.8 billion, making it the No. 4 global release of all-time.

"I think it comes down to the characters and storytelling," said Aronson of the bankability of Marvel films. "I think the [superhero] genre may be separated from traditional movies but I think the characters and storytelling are similar. And I think 'Deadpool' supplies both of those in huge amounts."

Paramount Pictures' "Book Club" opened in third place with $12.5 million, above analysts' prediction of $9 million.

A comedy about a group of women whose love lives are affected by their reading of the S&M novel "Fifty Shades of Grey," the film stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. It earned an A- rating on CinemaScore and a 58% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In fourth place, Warner Bros.' "Life of the Party" added $7.7 million in its second weekend in theaters, for a cumulative $31 million in ticket sales.

Rounding out the top five, Universal's "Breaking In" drew $6.5 million in its second weekend, for a to-date average of $28.7 million.

Also new this week, Global Road Entertainment's "Show Dogs" came in at No. 6 with $6 million in earnings.

A PG-rated canine comedy, "Show Dogs" follows a Rottweiler who goes on an undercover police mission at a fancy dog show. The film came within range of analysts' predictions of $5 million to $9 million and earned an A- rating on CinemaScore and a 26% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Next week, Buena Vista and Disney will premiere "Solo: A Star Wars Story" for Memorial Day weekend.

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UPDATES:

10:30 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from 20th Century Fox's president of distribution.

This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.

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