Deadpool, upon its release in February, became perhaps the most surprising hit of 2016. Featuring a Marvel character that wasn’t necessarily a household name, a leading man who had already bombed in a high-profile superhero movie once before, and a nearly completely unknown director (Tim Miller), Deadpool was a crowd-pleasing hit, earning over $363 million at the domestic box office. The film has earned fifth place among 2016 releases — though the year isn’t over yet.
Additionally, Deadpool had a successful run on DVD/Blu-ray, and Deadpool 2 is in the works for a January 2018 release date. Now, we’re getting some word about how exactly the film became such a hit – it’s all in the marketing. And it turns out Ryan Reynolds himself had more to do with it than viewers may have known.
THR has a look at the movie’s marketing success, ahead of Thursday’s Clio Key Art Awards in Los Angeles, where Deadpool is nominated for best integrated marketing campaign. Reynolds, the report said, had a much larger role in the marketing campaign for the film and character than is typical for a lead actor in a Hollywood blockbuster. However, due to the recent birth of his child with his wife, Blake Lively, Reynolds is unable to attend the awards ceremony.
According to Reynolds:
I’ve never taken ownership like this before…I could email [Fox domestic marketing chief Marc Weinstock] or anyone on his team at three in the morning with pitches and ideas, and somehow a response would come back within 10 or 15 minutes… Deadpool is probably the most unpolished superhero out there, and it gave us this almost unfair advantage. We used this opportunity over and over because we had a character that is a total misfit and f—ing rascal.”
Reynolds’ comments on the matter make sense; the film was a longtime labor of love for the actor, who worked with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to get the character on screen for many years, even attempting to talk Fox into going ahead with the project. Reynolds, in the article, also “pleads the fifth” in regards to his role in the release of leaked footage that was said to have lead to the ultimate greenlight for the film from the studio.
Would Reynolds’ version of The Green Lantern have fared better, had Reynolds put that type of guerrilla energy into it behinds the scenes? Who knows, but if it had, chances are he might never have played Deadpool.