When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament for 2018, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.
When Ryan Reynolds’ foul-mouthed Deadpool first showed its disfigured face in 2016, the movie more than turned the superhero movie on its ear. The irreverent R-rated picture became the biggest global-grossing R-rated film of all time with $783.1 million in ticket sales. There was certainly reason to be skeptical that the film’s success was a fluke, beyond original director Tim Miller bowing out because of creative disagreements and being replaced by John Wick helmer David Leitch. Well, Deadpool 2 surpassed the gross of the first film, though ironically it inched to $785M worldwide because of a gross-padding rerelease of a PG-13 holiday-rated version, Once Upon A Deadpool, which grossed $50 million globally.
It was a big year for spandex, and Deadpool 2 is the first of six superhero titles to crack Deadline’s top 10 profit list. Whether Disney and Marvel decide to tone down the next Deadpool and its X-Force spinoff is a decision for Bob Iger, Alan Horn and Kevin Feige. But the movies won’t be the same breath of fresh naughty air, and give Fox’s executives credit for showing there can be big business in making stylistic superhero renderings for adult audiences. Aside from the Deadpool franchise, Fox pushed the envelope with the James Mangold-directed Logan with Hugh Jackman making his final appearance as Wolverine. That movie grossed $619M worldwide. Even though Disney hasn’t released an R-rated movie since the days of Miramax and Touchstone, it is certainly something to consider. Here’s more: Deadpool 2 scored the second-biggest R-rated opening at the domestic box office with $125.5M, this time trailing the original Deadpool’s record-setting $132.4M domestic gross. Fox’s marketing was all in, embracing the film’s crazy irreverent spirit. When most R-rated comedies are struggling at the box office, here’s Deadpool as the only comedy that can work because it’s disguised as a superhero movie. The momentum of the first movie’s success paved way for the success of the sequel, with Fox implementing a similar type of anarchistic, in-your-face campaign for Deadpool 2. The sequel included more Deadpoolfriends, i.e., Cable (played by Josh Brolin, doing double time last summer in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War as chief villain Thanos), Domino (Zazie Beetz) and the Vanisher (played by Brad Pitt).
THE BOX SCORE
Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Deadpool 2 raked in $235.4M in profit, less than the 2016 title’s $322.2M. Deadpool 2 was more expensive in its net production from the first movie, $110M-$58M, and Fox spent more in global P&A, $135M-$120M. Participations on the sequel are $5M less than the first, at $60M. Global TV revenues reached $163M for PPV, VOD and SVOD. This was just $1M shy of what Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom earned.