Eighteen weeks after its debut and six weeks after its home video release, Deadpoolhas finally reached the end of its U.S. theatrical run, according to Box Office Mojo. Defying most pre-release predictions, the Merc With a Mouth now has bragging rights as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time worldwide with $780 million, though its whopping $363 million domestic total still trails Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ ($370.8 million).
It’s a remarkable achievement. Yes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned more globally ($873 million) and Captain America: Civil War topped it in the U.S. ($401 million) and globally ($1.1 billion). But Deadpool had many more hoops to jump through than its superhero competition, overcoming major skepticism that its snark, sex, and over-the-top violence was the stuff of a big box office success. And so, while bothBatman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War had budgets of $250 million to work with, Deadpool was made for a comparatively meager $58 million.
And more so than other recent superhero films, the R-rated feature figures to influence the future of the genre. Producer Simon Kinberg recently stated that the third Wolverine venture will be going for an R rating, and there have been many comparisons with the (ultimately PG-13) Suicide Squad, which might benefit from the trail blazed byDeadpool for untraditional heroes.
Deadpool also rewarded Ryan Reynolds with a huge career boost, having been stuck in neutral after years of rom-coms (The Proposal) and ill-fated action flicks (R.I.P.D.). Aided by his jubilant portrayal of Wade Wilson, dedication to über-fans, and relentless championing of the project, Reynolds has struck gold after Deadpool’s highly contested beginnings.
Creatively, writer-director Tim Miller recalled Fox executives’ reaction to an early draft of the script, saying at the time they “just don’t care for the script, don’t get it.” Reynolds also described how he wanted to include several other X-Men characters, but the budget for an R-rated movie instead of a PG-13 one wouldn’t allow it: “We went through such hell developing the script and which X-Men we could keep and which we couldn’t and it just turned into a nightmare. The studio would just say, ‘too expensive, too expensive, too expensive’ to everyone.”
After all the worrying and disagreements, Fox arrives on the other side of the release with a new lucrative franchise. Fans can expect both Reynolds and Miller to return in the not-too-distant future with the Merc with a Mouth in the greenlit sequel toDeadpool. Odds are the budget and creative discussions will be quite a different story for them this time around.