Despite not having the traditional hero or a fairy tale story, Deadpool is one of the biggest movies this year raking in a massive $135 million on its opening weekend. Ryan Reynolds, who also starred in DC Comic’s Green Lantern, plays Deadpool, a mercenary commissioned to take down the man who almost ruined his life and dreams.
Deadpool has crushed box office movie records across different categories, Forbes revealed. The movie conquered the biggest R-rated opening weekend in movie history earning over $132.7 million, leaving former record holder, Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix Reloaded” now only in second place.
The movie also bagged the record for the biggest opening weekend for a first-time director, Tim Miller and the biggest opening movie for actor Ryan Reynolds. If that is not enough, Deadpool’s record- breaking success is the biggest 20th Century Fox debut, surpassing the gigantic Star Wars Episode III with only $108 million.
The anti-hero character from Marvel Comics may not have enjoyed this huge success if not for its trending social media presence and smart marketing campaigns. According to CNBC, quoting comScore’s senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, Deadpool may be the first movie this year that raises expectations and gives that box office adrenaline rush.
Relatively unknown meta-hero
Deadpool first came out 25 years ago in Marvel’s “New Mutant,” as Marvel Comic’s unconventional anti-hero. According to Fox Movies, Deadpool tells of the story of former special operative Wade Wilson, who gained special healing powers after being the subject of a transmuted experiment. Wilson, later on, adopts Deadpool as his alter ego and tracks down the man responsible for the experiments he went through.
An International Business Times article revealed that Fox began developing a movie for the relatively non-mainstream character back in 2004, with David S. Goyer. However, for an unknown reason, Goyer lost interest and production was put off.
Eventually, Reynolds took the part but, sadly, only made a cameo appearance as Deadpool in another Fox movie, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” To make things worse, Reynold’s Deadpool was heavily criticized by moviegoers and Marvel Comics fans. Since then, the scriptwriters had worked create a movie that closely resembled the original Deadpool character from the comics.
After a series of failed negotiations with a some of directors, the film landed into the hands of Oscar-nominated film director and graphic artist Tim Miller. However, the film remained on hold despite having filmed parts of the movie in 2012. Two years later, after some of the filmed footages were leaked online, which immediately sparked a huge online and social media support.
Unwittingly, thanks to the leaked scenes that went viral, the overwhelming demand and request from both Marvel Comics fans and regular movie buffs pushed Fox to immediately greenlight the movie, after being shelved for almost a decade. The social media frenzy continued, as the film never let up on using social media platforms, and social-media-related marketing to further solidify the presence of Deadpool. This has led to the box-office hit that it is now.
Social media force behind box-office hits
While movie tours, post-filming interviews and press releases has been the norm for Hollywood movies, the presence of social media has greatly improved the reach and influence of movies even while filming. For instance, Den of Geek named movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy, where the actors posted behind-the-scenes and on-location sneak peeks.
The recently held Oscars also portrayed the power of social media in movies. According to Variety, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Revenant rose in digital engagement and social media buzz platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made mentions of its title.
Marketing is an essential part of a movie’s success, and social media has created a significant impact in today’s marketing campaigns. Social media has made reaching an audience much more efficient—farther reach and lesser cost than traditional media. The presence of various social media sites opened channels for movie producers to promote upcoming movies and it has been instrumental in getting feedbacks, reviews, and comments from moviegoers.
In 2010, social media was able to change movie marketing campaigns when Paramount’s “Paranormal Activity” became a $150 million box office hit because of its extensive Facebook promotion.
Today more than ever, about three billion people are engaged in connecting to the internet for their main source of information. Constant connection to social media is not a luxury anymore, thanks to products like the latest smartphones from Samsung, the network extender from 5BARz International and the routers from Anonabox. Social media sites and activities around them are now staple sources of information online, especially for movie updates, cast news or production sneak peeks.