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Deadpool Breaks Opening Weekend Records, Reminds Us That Studio Execs Don’t Know What We Want

Not great exec-spectations?

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With Deadpool‘s record-breaking opening weekend (we’ll get to those in a moment) and hordes of Deadpool cosplayers at seemingly every nerd event in recent history, it’s easy to forget that the movie almost didn’t get made at all. Its success is at once encouraging and a grim reminder that movie studios have weird, out-of-touch ideas about what can and can’t make money.

Despite languishing in development Hell for approximately a decade (really), Deadpool raked in $135 million in its opening weekend. Not only did it take down the previous Presidents’ Weekend holiday opening record held by Fifty Shades of Grey (at just $93 million, while Deadpool still gets to count Monday in that particular record and will probably hit $150 million) and become the biggest domestic opening for an R-rated movie period (beating The Matrix, even accounting for inflation), but that opening lands the Merc with a Mouth at #17 in opening weekends for all time.

That puts it ahead of Man of Steel, all of Fox’s other X-movies, most Marvel movies that aren’t Avengers, every Harry Potter except the last one, and the Spider-Man record that kind of kicked off the whole superhero movie record-setting pissing contest in the first place. Suffice it to say that Deadpool is a rousing success despite almost not getting made and having its budget cut fairly late in the game.

Remember, it only really got made at all because Ryan Reynolds wanted it so badly and someone incredibly involved in its development leaked that test footage. Although, it’s also worth noting that the movie may not have done as well had it been made back in 2005 when Reynolds first got involved. There’s something to be said for the hard R superhero comedy’s timing in a world where we’ve become oversaturated with the genre’s more serious efforts.

As Reynolds himself told the L.A. Times,

Looking back, I’m so grateful that we didn’t make the movie back then, because it’s so much more timely now. Deadpool doesn’t really take himself seriously at all, and in this era of comic-book superhero saturation, it’s a lot of fun to be playing a character that’s doing something wholly different than the rest.

(image via 20th Century Fox)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.