Tuesday, 8 March 2016

‘Deadpool’s $152.2M Opening

The 3-day revise on Deadpool is now $132.4M with 4-day finally clocking $152.2M for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Global debut: $284.5M all in. Countless records were broken here. As we saw all along, Deadpool easily flogged Fifty Shades of Grey‘s opening figures from last year ($85.1M FSS, $93M FSSM).  But, Deadpool was also the biggest opening ever for an R-rated movie on a 3-day basis beating Matrix Reloaded‘s $91.8M, but it also tore apart Hangover 2‘s four-day take of $117.6M. For Fox executives, Deadpoolis the biggest opening they’ve ever seen, surpassing Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (FSS $108.4M). In addition, the studio already has $100M+ grossing 2016 releases under its belt along with The Revenant and DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3, and February isn’t even over yet.
An R-rated supehero movie in the dead of winter blowing the top off the B.O. is highly unusual. That’s why projections were so low on Deadpool. The last R-rated comic book properties to play the first quarter of the year were Warner Bros. Watchmen ($55.2M opening) in 2009 and 300 ($70.9M) in 2007. Given Deadpool‘s strong tracking, if the film was rated PG-13, that would have prompted estimates to be in the $125M-$150M range.
“An R-rated superhero film like this had never been done before. And when it’s never been done before, it’s hard to comp and predict. You’re doing something that’s never been done. It’s like you throw the rulebook out the window,” said Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson on Deadpool’s tracking.
“That R gave everyone pause for concern,” said one rival distribution insider this morning, “Then throw in Valentine’s Day on Sunday and a holiday Monday and it is really hard to predict. We all knew it would be great but calling a performance this strong is just not possible.”
ComScore reports a record Presidents’ day weekend for all films with $240M over 3-days, beating last year’s $214M, and an anticipated $275M over four-days. The Valentine’s Day  box office racked up $85M; Deadpool repped 50% of the day’s business. Still that’s not a record as last year’s Valentine’s, which fell on a Saturday, drew $96.6M. The holiday was like having another Saturday on the schedule with the top 10 titles seeing hikes over Saturday of +2%-+28%. Goosing the box office even further money-wise was the fact that football is over, and that’s always a bane for distrib chiefs on Sunday morning. Most top 10 films today are expected to see declines ranging from -25% to -70% when compared to their Sunday tills.
Even though Deadpool carried a low production cost for a comic book film of $58M, it was definitely a gamble. Remember Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed 2010 film Kick Ass? That comic book property, which also was an anarchistic send-up of the superhero genre, was predicted to be a surprise spring hit opening to $30M at the time, but it fell on its face during its first weekend with $19.8M and a final domestic of $48M. Why did that ultra violent comic book film fizzle and Deadpool overpower? Essentially as a Marvel brand, Deadpool is more popular with a significant groundswell coming from a popular Activision video game and a strong presence on social media. Not to mention, audiences are responding to Ryan Reynolds’ transcending turn as Deadpool (47% cited the actor as the main reason why they bought tickets this weekend).  Forty-one percent of all moviegoers told ComScore’s PostTrak that they were planning to see this movie well before they left for the theater this weekend. Fandango reported that Deadpool was their highest February advance ticket seller.
While the assumption is that rival distribution executives always like to snark on the competition, this morning they were in complete awe at Fox’s success.  One marketing executive applauded Fox’s unconventional marketing campaign and its ability to pull a good portion of women to Deadpool. Another suit got to the heart of the matter as to why Deadpool is truly resonating: “The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.” (X-Men and Deadpool film rights were sold to Fox years ago; thus falling outside the Disney Marvel empire).
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took issue with that quote on Monday morning, taking to Facebook to respond, “Come the fuck on! That’s no reason to rewrite history.” Gunn’s explanation for Deadpool‘s box office phenomenon was that “it was original” and that studios, rather than come up with reasons for why a film succeeded and then copy it, should just give moviegoers, “something they don’t already have.”
n sum, the anti-superhero movie, complete with nudity and bawdy jokes, drew an A CinemaScore and a 97% excellent/very good PostTrak score. The latter polling org also stated that 52% of all moviegoers felt that Deadpool met their expectations while another 45% said it exceeded them. Amazing. Fox’s final read on 3-day demos are as follows: 62% guys, 38% female with 53% over 25. Top theaters included NY, LA, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Antonio, San Diego with Orlando and Seattle overindexing. Boston came in lower than expected, however Canada repped close to 8% of the weekend’s business with his great since there’s no holiday today there.
“In a way it’s similar to The Revenant: We’ve taken a seemingly familiar genre and turned it upside down in an incredibly creative way that audiences really responded to,” said Aronson about Deadpool‘s success.

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