Deadpool comic book creator Rob Liefeld has thrown down the gauntlet over the upcoming box office showdown between Deadpool 2 and Disney's Solo: A Star Wars Story, claiming the Deadpool sequel will soundly defeat the young Han Solo film. Solo is set to hit theaters on May 25th, 2018 after a long and arduous production process that included the firing of original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and the hiring of Ron Howard. Meanwhile, Deadpool 2 (which did go through a director change too, albeit well before production started) comes out the week after.
The original Deadpool may not have been a cross-platform phenomenon quite on the same level as a Star Wars movie, but in strict box office terms it performed amazingly well, grossing $783 million worldwide despite an R rating. With its fourth-wall-breaking meta-humor and charismatic lead performance by Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool found the sweet spot between delivering superhero thrills and mocking the whole enterprise of superhero movies, creating a fun, uber-violent action film that clicked with a much bigger audience than was anticipated. Thanks to Deadpool, the idea of R-rated action blockbusters is now viable in Hollywood, and that is reflected in the fact that Deadpool 2 is being given a prominent summer release slot up against the more traditional franchise tentpole movie Solo.
Speaking to a panel at L.A. Comic Con, Deadpool comic creator Rob Liefeld talked about what it feels like being a Star Wars fan and watching a movie based on his comic competing directly with a movie set in the Star Wars universe. Liefeld fondly remembered seeing the original Star Wars in the theater as a kid, and being awe-struck by George Lucas' vision. However, Liefeld won't let his Star Wars fandom get in the way of rooting for Deadpool 2 to prevail in head-to-head box office combat with Solo. In fact, Liefeld predicts that Deadpool will beat up on Solo when the two movies square off in multiplexes come June:
"But Disney is delusional and is opening 'Han Solo' a week before 'Deadpool!' And they are going to get their asses kicked! Seven days later; mark my word, skeptical man! [points to audience member] Mark my words: Han Solo, get the hell out of the summer, 'cause seven days later, an army of mercenaries is coming to send the Falcon into hyperspace! Disney I apologize in advance, but I'm telling the truth: Deadpool is going to kick your ass."
Liefeld could be channeling Deadpool himself with the outrageous bravado of his statement - but is it really such an absurd idea to think that Deadpool 2 might out-perform Solo? The Disney hype-machine will no doubt be in full-force in the weeks leading up to Solo, and when it hits, it will do so with all the super-charged pop culture power of the Star Wars brand behind it. It's well-known that Solo went through a troubled production process, but that likely won't matter to hardcore Star Wars fans who will turn out in droves to see Solo the first weekend.
Nothing compares to the Star Wars franchise for cultural significance, and certainly no one can out-spend Disney when it comes to marketing, but Deadpool isn't exactly an underdog in this fight. Deadpool has carved out its own place in pop culture, building up a large awareness with the general public outside of its own core of rabid fans. The Deadpool brand has clout too, and there will no doubt be a huge turn-out opening weekend for Deadpool 2.
Whether Deadpool 2 actually beats Solo in its second weekend, and goes on to out-perform Solo in overall gross, will depend largely on audience reaction to Solo. If Disney manages to deliver a satisfying Han Solo adventure, in spite of all the problems that plagued the production, then Solo will likely have the staying-power to fend off Deadpool 2. However, if Solo turns out to be bad and word-of-mouth hurts its second-weekend numbers, then Deadpool 2 may very well "kick its ass," as Liefeld predicts.
Source: Rob Liefeld [via ComicBook]
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018