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With ‘Deadpool 2’ Opening, Marvel Will Approach $1.5 Billion and Continue Grinding 2018 Box Office Into Dust

With the exception of "Solo," every other film in 2018 is a blip on the Marvel horizon.

Deadpool 2

“Deadpool 2”

20th Century Fox

With “Deadpool 2” about to debut as the third Marvel film in just over four months, we’re about to learn if it’s too much of a good thing — or, if Mae West was talking about Marvel when she said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

“Deadpool” was a February 2016 groundbreaker that led the way to “Black Panther” opening in February 2018. The budget was just $58 million and it was R rated, but the opening weekend was $140 million and it proved to be Fox’s biggest-ever domestic release of a Marvel movie.

So what about this time around? “Deadpool 2” estimates for this weekend are about $150 million. Marvel coordinates release dates among distributors, so it’s curious that this one landed closest to the summer. When Fox released the first “Deadpool,” it had been nine months between Marvel movies; this time, it’s three weeks. “Deadpool 2” will lack its predecessor’s element of surprise; Ryan Reynolds has been very busy providing refreshers on his brand of superhero snark. And reviews are on par; it currently ranks 68 on Metacritic. (The first one came in at 63.)

However, the release of “Deadpool 2” means that Marvel’s world domination of 2018 is almost complete. (“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” opening July 6!) Here’s a look at the continuing saga of how Marvel rewrites box-office rules.

“Avengers: Infinity War”

— Through Monday, domestic box office is up four percent from 2017, with a total gross to date just over $4.3 billion. About $1.25 billion of that comes from Marvel (including a small amount from “Thor: Ragnorak”). That’s 29 percent. Last year, “Beauty” and “Guardians” combined comprised 18 percent. Post-“Deadpool 2,” 2018 will have 10 weekends with films that made over $40 million. “A Quiet Place” opened over $50 million; “Ready Player One,” over $40 million. Everything else belongs to Marvel, with at least four openings over $100 million.

However, the 2018 record belongs to just five films. Last year, 10 different titles each had weekends of $40 million or more, and multiples for “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” brought the total of $40 million-plus weekends to 13. Marvel comprised just three of that 2017 tally.

“Black Panther”


— “Black Panther” stands at $695 million, a figure redefined the timing for blockbuster releases. In adjusted grosses, it stands as the biggest film in the wide-release era to open before May. (Only a handful of all-time hits like “The Sound of Music” and “The Godfather” were bigger.) Now that it’s streaming and on Blu-Ray, It likely won’t top 2012’s “The Avengers” ($706 million adjusted). Based on IMAX numbers, “The Avengers” also sold more (premium-priced) IMAX tickets — which means “Black Panther” likely sold more tickets overall.

"Avengers: Infinity War"

“Avengers: Infinity War”


— “Infinity War” currently stands near $560 million, and should get just below $570 million in three weeks. That compares to $538 million adjusted for “The Avengers” and $521 million for “Panther.” In three-week totals, it’s second only to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It will need an additional $130 million to match “Black Panther,” a bit more to top  the first “Avengers,” and it now must contend with its spotlight-hogging cousin “Deadpool 2” as well as “Solo.” Expect it to be a photo finish.

— By sometime next week, Marvel will likely have the top three releases of the year. These films will have grossed $1.5 billion; to reach the next $1.5 billion, you have to total the grosses of films nos. 4-20. (Let that sink in.) At this point, the only movie that could break the Marvel stranglehold is also from Disney, with “Solo.”

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