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‘Deadpool 2’ at $125 Million Could Suggest Marvel Box-Office Fatigue Has Come at Last

With three Marvel movies now in theaters, Ryan Reynolds' snarky superhero opened just below even its low-end expectations.

"Deadpool 2"

“Deadpool 2”

Is a $125-milllion opening weekend enough? Seems crazy to ask, but that’s what our Marvel-dominated world has come to. “Deadpool 2” had the third-biggest opening of 2018, and the third biggest opening for a Marvel film, after Disney’s “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” (both over $200 million to start).

“Deadpool 2” opened to over $300 million worldwide, and had a lower budget than many Marvel titles ($110 million, about double the 2016 original), so this should be a profitable title and then some. But it also shows the first signs of possible Marvel weariness, if only because the gross came in a little under expectations.

"Deadpool 2"

“Deadpool 2”

20th Century Fox/Screenshot

The low range of pre-opening estimates was $130 million, with $150 million commonplace. Judging a film by predictions is not totally fair, but at this point Marvel films are expected to shock and awe. Still, it’s a soft debut.

Why? Gross-depressing factors might include comedic sequels, the R rating films, and the absent surprise factor. Also, round one came on President’s Day weekend. It also could suggest that viewers aren’t as quick to see a variation on what they’ve seen in recent months.

Figures from 20th Century Fox indicate that initial crowds were 61 percent male, which shows that a film with strong male appeal can still create a success. However, the disparity means the film missed the mark somewhat with women, who increasingly comprise 50 percent of the comic-book movie audience.

“Avengers: Infinity War”

And it had to cope with another hot Marvel film competing head to head. “Avengers: Infinity War” added more than $28 million  (now at $595 million domestic). “Deadpool” — and for that matter, “Black Panther” — had virtually no competition.

“Deadpool” did take a bite out of “Infinity,” which dropped 54 percent. It is still on track to hit $675 million or more, but increasingly looks unlikely to top “Black Panther,” which is now just under $700 million (and now available in initial stages of home viewing). “Panther” fell to #13 and under $1 million for its first time.

This was the third weekend of $200 million or more this year. To be determined is how the clot of Marvel titles and next weekend’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” will coexist. “Solo” should open to at least $100 million, but don’t be surprised if it is affected by the top-heavy line up.

Book Club


Paramount counterprogrammed with “Book Club,” the first-ever film with four female leads (Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen) whose average age is over 70. And it didn’t even include the grandest dames, Maggie Smith or Judi Dench.

Though the age appeal was vastly different, perhaps some of the “Deadpool” female potential went here. “Club” was 80 percent female, with half of its attendees women age 50 or older. The targeted comedy of senior women finding literary titillation recevied mediocre reviews, but so did 2013’s “Last Vegas” with a similarly veteran cast of Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Douglas; at $17.9 million adjusted, its opening weekend was 43 percent higher. Still, the low budget for “Book Club” means profitability is still at hand.

The other opener, “Show Dogs” (Global Road), came in with a modest $6 million. The independently made family comedy about police canines working a dog show undercover gave kids something to see, but it’s a mediocre return given its wide release.

With the exception of “A Quiet Place” (once again, down only 37 percent), holdovers were mostly weak. Second weekends of Melissa McCarthy-starrer “Life of the Party” and thriller “Breaking In” were off 57 and 63 percent, respectively.

With mostly weak titles other than the monster hits, expect next weekend to have three films do as much as 95 percent of the total business. For the first time, only one new film will open for Memorial Day.


1. Deadpool 2 (20th Century Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 66; Est. budget: $110 million

$125,000,000 in 4,349 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $28,742; Cumulative: $125,000,000

2. Avengers: Infinity Wars (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #1

$28,672,000 (-54%) in 4,002 theaters (-472); PTA: $7,164; Cumulative: $595,033,000

3. Book Club (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 53; Est. budget: $10 million

$12,500,000 in 2,781 theaters; PTA: $4,495; Cumulative: $12,500,000

4. Life of the Party (Warner Bros.)  (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #2

$7,725,000 (-57%) in 3,656 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,113; Cumulative: $31,037,000

5. Breaking In (Universal) (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$6,470,000 (-63%) in 2,537 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,550,000; Cumulative: $28,751,000

6. Show Dogs (Global Road) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 35; Est. budget: $(unknown)

$6,035,000 in 3,212 theaters; PTA: $1,837; Cumulative: $5,035,000

7. Overboard (Lionsgate)  (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$4,725,000 (-52%) in 1,820 theaters (-); PTA: $2,596; Cumulative: $36,974,000

8. A Quiet Place (Paramount)  (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #5

$ 4,040,000 (-37%) in 1,820 theaters (-126); PTA: $2,596; Cumulative: $176,176

9. Rampage (Warner Bros.)  (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #7

$1,500,000 (-97%) in 1,466 theaters (-1,082); PTA: $1,023; Cumulative: $92,423,000

10. RBG (Magnolia)  (Disney) Week; Last weekend #10

$1,280,000 (+8%) in 375 theaters (+196); PTA: $3,413; Cumulative: $3,881,000

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