Ryan Reynolds, Rob Liefeld and Fabian Niceiza are smiling right now.
Deadpool, the R-rated superhero send-up is set to make more than $100 million this weekend after breaking the Thursday preview record for an R-rated film with $14 million. Projections call for a $102.5 million three day and $113.5 million four day take. This breaks the $93M Presidents Day record set by Fifty Shades of Grey just last year.
Deadpool is also a huge win for Ryan Reynolds; easily his best opening of all-time. The leading man had the deck stacked against him with another superhero movie in 2011, Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern, which despite its $53M opening was considered a bomb given its $200M production cost. Forty-seven percent of the audience tonight cited Reynolds as the reason why they showed up, while 59% said it was because Deadpool is a superhero movie.
As you know by now, Reynolds made making this movie his personal quest for many years, and he shines in the role, whether in his mask, or with a lumpy old avocado face. The film has been a hit with critics as well, rating 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and 97% with audiences!
Simply put audiences are bewitched by how Deadpool mercilessly sends up the Marvel brand, topped by its fair share of nudity, foul mouth funny, and fourth wall breaking. CinemaScore is an absolute A, not just with all auds, but guys and gals, too. Males showed up in full force at 57% on par with Ant-Man. ComScore PostTrak reports that 88% of moviegoers said they’d recommend Deadpool to a friend. That’s the same recommendation score that Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned during its opening weekend. Further evidence that word of mouth is through the roof: 92% of those polled by PostTrak said they know five friends or family members who would see the movie (Force Awakens scored a 95% in this category)
This is Heidi’s own comment here: not sure if the above box office projections take into account the perishing single digit cold hitting the northeast; people may stay at home a bit or else brave horrible weather to leave the house to hear jokes about masturbation and torture.
Also of note: while it’s also been noted that the movie was low budget compared to a lot of MCU films I hadn’t seen a price tag until Variety said the budget was $58 million. Which is modest as these things go. Not sure if this includes the costs of the utter genius blanket marketing campaign, which saw poo emojis, Venn diagrams and a profane endorsement by Betty White. Like I said, genius.
Fox and friends knew what the Tim Miller-directed film would be a hit. A second film has already been greenlit and, the budget may be more than $58 million this time. Perhaps they can even afford more than two X-men.
I’m sure there will be plenty of think pieces about this, but the audience was ready for a superhero movie that didn’t take itself seriously. They were also ready for Deadpool, a character who nails a lot of the anti-PC zeitgeist without actually being a hateful jerk. Call it having your cake and eating it too.
And in case you’d like to hear me discussing all this and more Hollywood nonsense with Rob Liefeld, AND hear him do his Stan Lee imitation, here’s the PW More to Come podcast I did with him.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.