While it was expected to perform well, based on all I’ve read from industry blogs and box office analysts, no one predicted just how well “Deadpool” would do at the box office. Not even the studio, 20th Century Fox. The modestly-budget R-rated (a rarity) superhero movie far exceeded expectations, grossing a whopping $135 million during its opening weekend, on a reported $58 million budget – a fraction of what the typical superhero movie is going for these days. To compare, the upcoming “Batman v Superman” is said to cost around $225-$250 million, with a $150 million worldwide marketing budget, bringing its total production and marketing expenses to around $400 million.
“Deadpool” broke “Fifty Shades of Grey’s” previous February opening weekend record – $85.2. It is also the highest opening for an R-rated film – a record previously held by “The Matrix Reloaded” ($91.7 million, although that’s not adjusted for inflation). And according to Box Office Mojo, it’s also, incredibly, the largest opening weekend ever for a 20th Century Fox film, beating the record previously held by “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” ($104 million; although, again, not adjusted for inflation).
And finally, this is also the largest opening for a Ryan Reynolds film. The last time he played a superhero was in 2011’s “Green Lantern” which was both a critical and commercial flop – a $200+ movie which opened with just over $53 million, and went onto to gross $116 million domestic (plus $103 million foreign).
Needless to say, a Deadpool film franchise has likely been born, so expect at least one more, if not 3 or 4 more Deadpool films down the road, and maybe more R-rated superhero movie greenlights, if only to see if this is a trend with legs. Although “Deadpool” certainly isn’t the first R-rated superhero movie. But it is the first to gross $135 million during the first 3 days of its release.
In terms of other new openings, “Zoolander 2” came in 4th place with $15.6 million. Not great; but not bad either. I don’t believe this was expected to do blockbuster figures. In fact, I’m puzzled that a second film was actually greenlit. The first one didn’t exactly light the box office on fire ($28 million budget; $45 million box office), so a sequel just didn’t make much sense to me, and I’m not surprised by its opening weekend numbers. Who really wanted a “Zoolander” sequel? White boys routinely get to spend many millions of dollars making their idiotic comedies that aren’t always profitable, but yet filmmakers of color can’t get a fraction of “Zoolander 2’s” budget (a reported $50 million) to make more substantive films about people of color, let alone our own idiotic comedies. With a woeful 23% rating via Rotten Tomatoes, and weak word of mouth on the sequel, I predict that its second weekend box office will be sliced considerably, compared to its opening weekend, and the film will go on to gross around $40 million total, if it’s lucky.
Of note, “Ride Along 2” remains in the top 10, but looks like its run towards matching the total box office gross of the first film, is near its end, as it won’t get there, with an $82 million take to date, after 5 weeks in release (the first “Ride Along” grossed over $135 million total). But still a healthy box office figure. At its current earnings rate, It just might squeak by $100 million.
Also, Marlon Wayans’ “Fifty Shades of Black” seems to have lost its luster rather quickly, earning just under $600,000 this weekend, for a cumulative gross of $10.6 million. So I think we can say that it’s just about done. Wayans seemed to have caught fire with his first “Haunted House” movie spoof, which grossed over $40 million, but on a paltry $2.5 million budget. It was a surprise hit which spawned a sequel that didn’t do nearly quite as well (earning less than half of what the first film did). But that didn’t deter Wayans from continuing with movie spoofs, moving on to “Fifty Shades.” Although given the relatively weak performance of “Shades” and the second “Haunted House” movie, I’d assume that he may find difficulty in attracting financing for any future spoofs he might have in mind.
By the way, “Creed” is still in theaters, and has grossed over $109 million thus far – a rare occurrence for a film written and directed by a black filmmaker, and starring a black actor. So welcome to the $100 million directors club Mr Ryan Coogler! I suspect there will be many more $100+ million grossers in his future, starting with the next one – “Black Panther.”
The top 10 weekend grosses follow below, with this weekend’s earnings followed by cumulative.
1 – “Deadpool” Fox $135,050,000, $135,050,000
2 – “Kung Fu Panda 3” Fox $19,650,000, $93,912,387
3 – “How to Be Single” WB $18,750,000, $18,750,000
4 – “Zoolander 2” Par. $15,650,000, $15,650,000
5 – “The Revenant” Fox $6,900,000, $159,164,599
6 – “Hail, Caesar!” Uni. $6,590,000, $21,354,970
7 – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” BV $6,194,000, $914,838,964
8 – “The Choice” LGF $5,250,000, $13,259,551
9 – “Ride Along 2” Uni. $4,130,000, $82,661,235
10 – “The Boy” STX $2,913,000, $30,778,587