Deadpool 2 director David Leitch has some things to say about his film's opening weekend outgrossing Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story's domestic opening. Leitch didn't seem all that surprised by his film's box office numbers. After taking over the series from Tim Miller, he and star Ryan Reynolds went all-in with the sequel. While Deadpool 2 hit theaters two weeks before Solo: A Star Wars Story, the two blockbusters have been in a kind of indirect competition with one another, especially since no other film dared to open the same weekend as a Star Wars movie.
While Solo: A Star Wars Story had Memorial Day weekend mostly to itself, despite opening just a few weeks after two highly-anticipated summer blockbusters, it hasn't made as much money as analysts initially expected. Ticket sales in its first weekend in theaters were coming in well below initial expectations. Although reviews have been generally positive, Solo's CinemaScore is on-par with the Star Wars prequels. Deadpool 2, on the other hand, had the second-highest R-rated opening ever. The first Deadpool still holds the top spot. To many, it's astounding that Solo's global opening weekend came in at less than half of what Deadpool 2 grossed in its opening weekend.
In an interview with ComicBook, David Leitch explains that the approach he and star Ryan Reynolds shared was to "not come from a place of fear." This allowed them to use the informal competition with Solo: A Star Wars Story to their advantage. "Deadpool was a very special brand. And so, it was like, they're different movies and let's just aggressively go forward and make the best movie possible and who knows."
Their approach clearly worked. Deadpool 2's expert yet misleading marketing campaign is what helped make the movie an overwhelming success, thanks in part because it leaned heavily into Deadpool's meta sensibility. Also, its (comparably) lighthearted approach was a welcome antidote to the somber Avengers: Infinity War. It even managed to completely trick the audience about the whole X-Force thing. On the other hand, Solo: A Star Wars Story's marketing seemed to struggle. The notoriously troubled production didn't release any footage until the Super Bowl in February, just over three months before its release date. Additionally, Solo came out less than six months after Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Still, Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard has remained optimistic about the whole ordeal. After all, the Star Wars anthology movie certainly isn't a flop in any sense of the word, though it may have Disney rethinking its once-a-year plan for future Star Wars movies and whether or not they want to pursue a Solo: A Star Wars Story sequel. As for Deadpool, the character will next appear in an X-Force movie along with several other Marvel mutants.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019