Ironically enough, Fox did move Deadpool 2's release window - but to a worse spot. The film was originally set to open the first week of June, which would've allowed it to take in anyone uninterested in Solo's second weekend (which, it turns out, was a lot of people). It would've had to deal with Incredibles 2 earlier on in its run, but still would've likely won its first two weekends. However, Fox saw a window they felt was too good to pass up and moved the film up two weeks to its May 18 slot.
The move came after Marvel Studios shifted Avengers: Infinity War up one week to come out on April 27, which would've given the film four straight weeks of uninterrupted dominance before Solo: A Star Wars Story took it on. However, instead of looking at the extra breathing room before major comic book tentpoles as a good thing, Fox wanted to stay close to mock and ride the coattails off the superhero high. This looks to have backfired on them with Infinity War still managing to pull in nearly $30M during Deadpool 2's opening weekend and an additional $17M the week after.
Fox may have been better off sticking to that earlier date, or even finding a slow period in the calendar with less competition.
Where Deadpool 2 Could've Dominated
If we're going to suggest a hiccup in Deadpool 2's release, its only fair to offer up a possible solution. The first option that may come to mind would've been to keep Deadpool 2 in the same February window as the original. Fox certainly could've tried that, although considering Black Panther's record-breaking release, it is difficult to imagine Deadpool 2 truly slowing down the cultural phenomenon. Moving it to early March could've possibly worked, although major films like Tomb Raider and Pacific Rim Uprising didn't fare too well at all either.
Deadpool 2's best option may have been to follow the path of Suicide Squad. Warner Bros. and DC hit a goldmine in 2016 by putting the villain team-up movie out in characteristically quiet month August. The movie performed almost identical to the original Deadpool, taking advantage of a lack of competition: both films made roughly $133M in their opening weekend and went on to be the top grosser at the domestic box office for three straight weekends.
Taking a look at what August 2018 is currently offering, there's clearly room for something big. If Deadpool 2 had come out this first weekend in August, it would've gone toe-to-toe with The Darkest Minds, The Spy Who Dumped Me, and Disney's live-action Christopher Robin (with previous tentpole Mission: Impossible - Fallout on its second week). Assuming all three stay (which probably wouldn't have happened), is there really any doubt that Deadpool 2 easily dispatches them all? Its second weekend would've had to deal with The Meg, which just blew past box office projections, although really only because there's so little out there that even a serviceable big-budget action film can overperform. This coming weekend has Crazy Rich Asians and Mile 22; the weekend after has The Happytime Murders; and the last weekend of August has only Kin or The Little Stranger. With so little competition, Deadpool 2 may have had the chance to win four or five weeks in a row, likely with bigger returns.
To be clear, Deadpool 2 is far from a box office flop. However, that doesn't mean that the movie couldn't have performed better, or that Fox wasn't expecting more out of the sequel. This is all hypothetical after all, but there's also some merit to it based on the performance of other comparable films. Since Deadpool 3 or X-Force won't make it to theaters prior to Disney taking control of Fox and the franchise's future, hopefully they'll be a bit wiser in where they place Ryan Reynolds' next standalone.
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