Box Office: ‘Deadpool’ Obliterates Records With $135 Million Debut

Deadpool
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Deadpool,” a loose-limbed comic book adaptation, ravaged the President’s Weekend box office, torpedoing records and reigniting the career of star Ryan Reynolds.

Filmed for an economical $58 million, the 20th Century Fox release has already made back its production budget and then some, racking up $135 million over its first three days in theaters. It could make $150 million over the four-day holiday. That easily surpasses the previous President’s Day weekend and February record holder, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which set a high-water mark with its $85.2 million debut last year. It also stands as the biggest ever bow for an R-rated movie, sailing past “The Matrix Reloaded’s” $91.8 million launch.

Just as “Fifty Shades of Grey” broke out the whips and handcuffs to reinvigorate the tired erotic drama genre, “Deadpool” relied on raunchy humor and a fourth-wall breaking central character to apply a fresh gloss on superhero movies at a time when costumed avengers threaten to reach saturation levels.

Fox must have had an inkling that it had struck gold after its heavily pirated Comic-Con presentation sent fanboys into a state of grace. Its marketing rollout played up the character’s humor, with one poster having Deadpool stretched out on a bear skin rug, striking a come-hither, Burt Reynolds pose.

“This campaign made ‘Deadpool’ accessible to all quadrants regardless of age, gender or ethnicity,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s domestic distribution chief. “This character connected.”

“Deadpool’s” success extends a lifeline for Reynolds, once a rising star in Hollywood, whose ascent was derailed by costly bombs such as “Green Lantern” and “R.I.P.D.” The actor first played Deadpool in 2009’s ” X-Men Origins: Wolverine” then labored for years to bring a spin-off version to screens. A sequel is already in the works.

“All it takes is one gigantic, massive, record-breaking movie to put a career back on track,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore.

Despite a cold front that kept much of the East Coast indoors and contemplating hacking up their armoires for kindling, ticket sales remained robust throughout the holiday.

Warner Bros.’ “How to Be Single” looked to capitalize on Valentine’s Day, bringing in largely female crowds to the tune of a humdrum $18.7 million from 3,343 locations. It should make in the low $20 million range over its first four days, finishing in third place. Rebel Wilson, Dakota Johnson, Alison Brie, and Leslie Mann star as four women navigating the Big Apple sans significant others. The update on the “Sex and the City” formula set the studio back $38 million to bring to screens.

Paramount’s “Zoolander 2,” which revisits dim-bulb male model Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) more than a decade after he first stormed runways, disappointed, earning roughly $15.7 million from 3,394 locations for a fourth place finish. It is projected to generate $18 million over the holiday. The high fashion satire cost $50 million to produce. Paramount executives said they always expected “Deadpool” to rule the weekend, but they hadn’t anticipated the size of its launch.

“‘Deadpool’ just exceeded expectations of what it could be and that was devastating to other movies in the marketplace,” said Megan Colligan, president of worldwide distribution and marketing for Paramount.

Bad reviews may have been another culprit. The comedy, which brought back original stars Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson, received a meagre 23% “rotten” rating on critics aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes.  Variety, for instance, labelled the film “a disappointment-slash-misfire, the orange mocha crappuccino of movie sequels.”

Colligan sounded shocked by the response, saying, “a comedy can survive negative reviews, but these went a notch nasty, which sort of surprised me…the movie is silly fun, with an iconic character, so it was unfortunate.”

Last weekend’s champ, “Kung Fu Panda 3” added $19.6 million to its $100.3 million haul. It should make $26 million for the four-day holiday, finishing in second place.

“The Revenant” rounded out the top five, earning $6.9 million for the three days and a projected $8.1 million for the four day celebration of all things Oval Office. It has grossed $160.4  million since opening in December.

In limited release, Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next,” a documentary examination of how Europe tackles social problems the bedevil the U.S. such as gun control, prison reform, and school lunches kids can stomach, earned $933,240 from 308 screens. It has grossed just over $1 million following an awards qualifying run.

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  1. Rahul Sharma says:

    Like always Marvel movies, Deadpool is also a fantastic movie.

  2. Kevin says:

    “Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson”. Really? Will Ferrell has gotten a lot shorter. I thought that was Ben Stiller.

  3. Regarding the harshness of the Zoolander reviews, maybe this will teach the industry that no one wants to revisit old favorites. Let the good ones stand on their own and try coming up with original concepts instead.

    • therealeverton says:

      It shows no such thing. The fact that people went to the film even against those reviews shows people did want to revisit the characters. They just didn’t want to do so in a poorly made, inferior version.

  4. kevin thomas says:

    Just don’t use Ryan for anything other then what has worked, sarcastic banter, like Robert Downey Jr. Hate seeing one trick pony’s try to stretch their wings.

  5. Ima Right says:

    more Hollyweird crap and just goes to show the public is becoming more braindead and have no
    attention span for good movies with great writing directing and acting instead of special effects crap.

  6. Spider says:

    “Deadpool”, kicked ass! Period!

    • Ima Right says:

      they took your money and you got garbage.

      • Sam Burnell says:

        I got a monstrous laugh and came out of that movie giggling mostly due to it completely non-PC sarcasm. They got my money but I got the better of the deal.

        Now…I also went to Hail Caesar and walked out of there going…WTF. Everyone around me all looked confused from mid-20’s up to 60’s in age. Blast of cameos and a complete waste of time. Best parts were leaked as trailers. I got robbed.

      • David says:

        Wow, aren’t you a ray of sunshine… people like you are the reason the movie was almost not made. Watch what you want, and let everyone else watch what they want. This was the best possible outcome for this movie and I am showing my support in any way possible.

  7. THE NEW NORMAL says:

    What a stunning result for Deadpool! And KUNG FU PANDA did $20 million in its 3rd weekend!!! Overall, a heck of a holiday weekend at the box office. All new films finally broke though the 11 million dollar ceiling of the past 3 weekends of 2016. So many flop weekends in a row, then we get a gigantic weekend like this one loaded with hits. This result shows that you can open a superhero film any time of the year and pull in the male fanboy audience, even if the content is questionable, “R” rated, and sliding down the slope of depraved consciousness.

    • therealeverton says:

      Pretty sure the audience for Deadpool has a LOT of females.It shows, again, that you can open any film that an audience believes is worth their money and time, pretty much any time of the year. It is convincing the audience to show up that is key. Also Social media has made great word of mouth a massive driver over a weekend.

      As for the content, nothing wrong with it at all. To each their own.

  8. JK says:

    “The Coen brothers’ Hollywood satire, Hail, Caesar!,” rounded out the top five, earning $6.6 million”, just NO, the number 5 film is The Revenant with $6.9 millions, where do you do your research…????

    Please correct this

    • Sam Burnell says:

      I also went to Hail Caesar and walked out of there going…WTF. Everyone around me all looked confused from mid-20’s up to 60’s in age. Blast of cameos and a complete waste of time. Best parts were leaked as trailers. I got robbed.

  9. Cath says:

    “Deadpool” was genuinely fun and I had no idea what to expect since I fall in no way in any studio’s demographic for this movie.

  10. Bill B. says:

    Reynolds has always been a very likable guy with great comedic timing. Congrats. Can’t believe he is 39. He looks a good 10 years younger and seems to get better looking with age.

  11. therealeverton says:

    “at a time when costumed avengers threaten to reach saturation levels.”

    Says hardly anyone who actually likes them. This statement has no basis in the reality of cinema-going and audience participation at all.

    Box office remains high, Anticipation for upcoming films is huge, even the nervousness about Batman v Superman is overshadowed by a massive amount of anticipation for the film. About the onoy one NOT having this is Ninja Turtles Out Of The Shadows, and I have a feeling that will be “critic / hate” proof like Transformers anyway.

  12. Mike says:

    Gee, it’s only taken Ryan Reynolds 30+ movie flops to finally get a hit. I’m trying to imagine another actor getting that many chances.

  13. Lenny says:

    Deadpool is amazing. Rated R or go home. Pg 13 is terrible. Wahoo on the sequel.

  14. Alex says:

    “Deadpool” got only so-so reviews from the critics, this is a great popcorn flick. 2015 was Disney’s year, I think FOX will rule 2016.

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