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. 


  1. the international marketing campaign has also been genius. I live in Peru and last week they launched a tv ad mocking one of the candidates running for office in this year’s national elections. deadpool’s been all over the place.

  2. Maybe this will convince studios that superhero movies don’t have to be PG-13 to be hits. I can’t think of an R-rated movie based on a Marvel or DC property since WATCHMEN in 2009.

  3. Liefeld is correct that R-rated action movies used to be common. The early Die Hard and Terminator movies were rated R. And the first Conan movie. So were the Robocop movies, the Rambo movies, the Dirty Harry movies, etc. This continued into the late ’90s with big-budget movies like Face/Off, Air Force One, and The Matrix, all rated R.

    But at some point, studios decided that these movies were so expensive, they had to be PG-13 so “everyone” could see them. So we get the ridiculous MAN OF STEEL, where a heavily populated city is devastated but we see no mangled corpses. Because corpses might result in an R.

  4. George you hit the nail on the head. I was lamenting the very same thing earlier tonight. Happy to see something tongue in cheek and over the top has injected life into an increasingly tired genre.

  5. More importantly, I’d be interested in seeing more of these films adopt a mid-level budget approach. The need for extravagant productions are why so many of these outings have such similar, world-shaking endings.

  6. This movie strives to be a comic book brought to life. And it mostly succeeds. They have done a lot with such a low budget. More than expected!

  7. A bunch of those R rated movies, like Robocop, Rambo and Toxic Avenger later became Saturday morning cartoons. Wouldn’t be surprised if that happened here with the success of the film. He’s already a character in the Marvel Lego game.

  8. Film historian Mark Harris, author of the superb books “Five Came Back” and “Pictures at a Revolution,” tweeted some interesting comments last night about Deadpool’s box-office success:

    “Pauline Kael once wrote that the success of genre parodies means the genre itself is starting to die. I’m not sure that applies to Deadpool.

    “Marvel movies have long incorporated winks at themselves. GotG (Guardians of the Galaxy) showed you could deftly have it both ways. Deadpool just goes a step further.

    “Who should be scared? Warner Bros. Deadpool suggests fatigue w/ self-serious “dark” and “epic” comic-book movies. Bad time to invest in bombast.

    “Another worrisome possibility: The genre isn’t “comic-book movies.” The genre is “Marvel.” And everything not branded that way is a wannabe.

    “Also, interesting how little this megasuccess translates to TV, where both DC and Marvel have niche successes at best, flops at worst.”

  9. Kyle said: “More importantly, I’d be interested in seeing more of these films adopt a mid-level budget approach.”

    So am I. You can take more chances with a mid-level budget, because you don’t have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. As the budget rises, so does the urge to stick with proven formulas.

    But the budget for DEADPOOL 2 will probably be twice the budget of the original. That’s how it usually is with sequels to hits. And when that happens, studio demands to tone down the sex, violence and language to obtain a PG-13 (so that “everyone” can see it) will escalate.

  10. George,
    I loved those Harris quotes. Not so much what he was saying, which is disappointing as a longtime DC fan, but in how much they likely reflect the truth.

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