Box Office: Deadpool Makes History With $132.4M Weekend, Colossal $152.2M Holiday
In a sea change for Hollywood’s go-to genre — comic book adaptations — Ryan Reynolds’ very R-rated and irreverent Deadpool grossed a record-breaking $132.7 million over the three-day Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend, one of the best showings of all time for a superhero movie and shattering all expectations.
The Marvel-branded Deadpool is an enormous victory for Fox and Reynolds, who spent more than a decade convincing the studio to let him make the X-Men spinoff his way, i.e., with a hard R rating. Fox finally said yes but kept the budget at a relatively modest $58 million. Every other studio superhero movie in recent times has been rated PG-13 and cost much more; Deadpool alters the game. It also catapults Reynolds to major stardom, much as Iron Man reinvigorated Robert Downey Jr.’s career.
For the four-day holiday weekend, Deadpool earned a colossal $152.2 million, a Presidents Day best that beats the $93 million grossed a year ago by sensation Fifty Shades of Grey (official four-day estimates will be released Monday morning, so it’s possible the final number could come in higher). Among other North American records broken, Deadpool boasts the biggest R-rated opening of all time, the biggest opening for the month of February and the top opening in history for Fox. It’s also the biggest debut for a first-time feature director (Tim Miller).”Deadpool is wildly creative and new, and that’s what audiences want,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. “I think a lot of credit goes to [Fox CEO] Jim Gianopulos for having the courage to make this movie.”
The movie — replete with foul language, nudity, sex and graphic violence — succeeded in getting a heavy turnout among younger males, an elusive demo in recent years. At least 62 percent of ticket buyers were male, while a hefty 47 percent of ticket buyers were under the age of 25.
The studio made the well-reviewed Deadpool with Marvel Enterprises via its licensing deal for the X-Men universe of characters, and, along with Reynolds, spent months aggressively marketing the movie. Sometimes, the campaign was as irreverent and out there as the film itself, but the studio was also savvy in marketing the film as a broad offering in line with other superhero movies, which draw families. Deadpool is playing in 3,558 theaters, including Imax locations.
The tongue-in-cheek movie, which often pokes fun of the superhero genre, follows Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool), a witty mercenary nicknamed the Merc With the Mouth who is bestowed with special healing powers after undergoing an experimental treatment for cancer. But he vows to get revenge after he’s quickly betrayed, and horribly disfigured, separating him from his girlfriend (Morena Baccarin). The actor first appeared as the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Reynolds’ film received an A CinemaScore from all age groups. And 92 percent said they would recommend it to a friend, while 76 percent checked off the excellent box, on par with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to ComScore’s PostTrak exit polling service. Other characters from the X-Men comic book universe who appear in the film include Colossus (Sefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).