It took only nine days for X-Men: Days of Future Past to break box office records for the X-Men movie franchise in summer 2014. It saw the series' second largest opening weekend with an impressive $90,823,660 opening weekend in North America (X-Men: The Last Stand had $102 million but a major dropoff after), thanks to the help of the film's massive ensemble and 3D premium tickets.
It set a benchmark for the X-Men series to aspire to going forward and served as sort of a new beginning for the Fox's Marvel properties in more ways than one. Going forward, the studio would be aiming to do at least two Marvel features a year, and they'd be putting more resources into making them bigger than ever. Well, you can forget all of that. The one character everyone needs to aspire to is now Deadpool because he just destroyed the box office this Valentine's Day weekend.
Without 3D, and with a smaller pool of available moviegoers thanks to its R-rating, Deadpool not only set records for February box office openings, it destroyed any records set by any other Marvel movie made by Fox. Ever. The box office estimates currently have Deadpool bringing in a whopping $135 million domestically in addition to over $125 million internationally for an overall $260 million worldwide opening. That's especially impressive given that Deadpool is banned in China - the second largest film market in the world. The award-worthy marketing campaign for Deadpool combined with positive reviews and strong word of mouth made a big difference on this one with the promise that Deadpool would be something different.
You're reading that right. Deadpool earned $45 million more than X-Men: Days of Future Past in its opening and $41 million more than Guardians of the Galaxy's opening (also PG-13, also 3D). It even beat Iron Man 1 & 2. In fact, the only solo Marvel characters to beat Deadpool's number are Iron Man 3 and Spider-Man 3. And that's three movies in each with bigger budgets and bigger brand appeal.
Let's compare that one weekend haul to the franchise box office totals to date:
- $296,339,527 – X-Men (2000)
- $407,711,549 – X2: X-Men United (2003)
- $459,359,555 – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
- $373,062,864 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
- $353,624,124 – X-Men: First Class (2011)
- $414,828,246 – The Wolverine (2013)
- $747,862,775 - X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Note: Days of Future Past had a $200 million budget (and again, 3D premiums with a PG-13 rating). Deadpool had about a quarter of that production budget and is the first in a new IP film series.
And for "funsies," the awful, embarrassing Fantastic Four only made $25,685,737 in its opening (also without 3D) an a total worldwide haul of $167,977,596 in its entire run. Ouchie!
Fox has found their new leading man in Ryan Reynolds's Deadpool and will look to build the franchise around him. That starts with the already-confirmed Deadpool 2 which is currently being written by returning screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and will finally introduce the fan-fave time-travelling mutant known as Cable. After that, Ryan Reynolds - and surely, anyone who's read the comics - wants an R-rated X-Force team-up which we envision could serve as another core (but more adult) X-Men series running concurrently with the mainline X-Men films.
Gambit and Wolverine 3 - and even the Deadpool sequel - now have a lot to live up to and the anomaly-like success of non-3D, R-rated Deadpool will hopefully put pressure on the other studios to take more risks. It may be unreasonable to expect similar box office results from future X-Men movies and spinoffs - although at this point in time, an R-rated X-Force starring this Deadpool may be a more lucrative and exciting investment than another X-Men.
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.' Suicide Squad for instance, may benefit from an R-rating, given its characters, content and director (David Ayer's works are R-rated) - and maybe Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige can finally greenlight an R-rated MCU film, too. That's something he said could happen back when Marvel got back the film rights to Blade.
Deadpool is now in theaters; X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants and Deadpool 2 are also in development.
Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
The film is directed by Tim Miller, from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Ryan Reynolds stars, along with Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Yorick Van Wageningen, Gina Carano and Brianna Hildebrand. Producers include Simon Kinberg, Reynolds and Lauren Shuler Donner.