The X-Men franchise, including the two Wolverine standalone films and Deadpool, has grossed a grand total of $1.8 billion domestically since 2000. Of all the X-Men films, Deadpool has been the biggest single hit, grossing $363 million at the U.S. box office. The highest-grossing actual official ensemble X-Men movie is 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand which did $234 million domestically in 2006. The top-grossing Wolverine film was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which did $179 million.
This week, Fox is set to wrap up the Wolverine saga with Logan, and expectations are that it will be a huge smash at the box office despite its controversial R-rating (reviewers already are on-board with the film, as indicated by its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score). But when all is said and done, will Logan end up as the highest-grossing X-Men film of them all?
Box office projections have Logan bringing in $65 million domestically in its first weekend, way behind the $132 million Deadpool rang up when it opened in February of 2016. One key indicator of box office performance, advance ticket sales, has Logan doing well against past X-Men movies but still not outpacing Deadpool. According to Fandango (via Deadline), Logan has sold more advance tickets than any of the X-Men ensemble movies or either of the two previous Wolverine films. It remains behind Deadpool, however.
Whether one considers Deadpool to be an official part of the X-Men franchise is a matter of some debate. Deadpool has never appeared in an X-Men ensemble movie, but he did have a role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, albeit with his mouth sewn shut so he could not spout his signature expletives. So perhaps Deadpool should properly be characterized as “X-Men-adjacent.”
The Logan vs. Deadpool discussion has relevance mainly because of the R-rating connection. Deadpool is seen as a trailblazer, a movie that because of its box office performance opened the door for other R-rated superhero movies. Indeed, without Deadpool‘s huge numbers, it’s unlikely that Logan would have gotten released with in an R-rated cut that was reportedly barely touched by the studio.
At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t really matter if Logan beats Deadpool or any of the other X-Men films at the box office. All that counts is Logan having a strong enough showing to insure that more studios will be willing to take a chance on R-rated superhero movies. Right now, it looks like Logan may exceed expectations, which is great news for those who like gritty realism in their comic book films.