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It sure feels like we've been through a crazy number of major summer releases already, doesn't it? From Avengers: Infinity War to Deadpool 2 to Solo: A Star Wars Story, we've seen blockbuster after blockbuster in a very short window of time. This is even more interesting when we consider the fact that Deadpool 2 moved up from its planned June 1, 2018 release date, which put it one week before Solo. Deadpool 2 director David Leitch has addressed the May release date, recently explaining that the uniqueness of the Deadpool brand gave them the confidence to compete. Leitch explained about the release date:
We always approached everything in Deadpool, Ryan and I, we tried to say, 'We can't operate from a place of fear. We knew we were going to open up near Han Solo, but we knew we also were going to make a... You know, Deadpool was a very special brand. And so, it was like, they're different movies and let's just aggressively go forward and make the best movie possible and who knows?
There's some serious validity to David Leitch's remarks about Deadpool 2's position on the summer release schedule. Unlike many other PG-13 brands that will debut this year, Deadpool 2 is part of a "very special brand" that has a rabid, built-in fanbase. Though a movie like Deadpool and a movie like Solo: A Star Wars Story arguably appeal to very similar audiences, David Leitch's comments to Comicbook.com assert that the nature of a Deadpool movie is what helped it perform so well in its opening weekend, earning $125 million compared to Solo's $84 million.
One notable element that likely helped Deadpool 2 in this regard was the A+ marketing campaign. Wade Wilson is a unique character who can insert himself into a broad range of products and advertising styles, so the folks behind the R-rated sequel were able to capitalize on Ryan Reynolds' knack for smartass wisecracking to deliver some amazing promotional material.
Ultimately, the perceived gamble of wedging Deadpool 2 between two major Disney releases seems to be paying off in the long run, even if it made a little less opening weekend than its predecessor. Even in a far more competitive release window, the Deadpool franchise has once again gone on to become a massive box office hit for the X-Men series, and the stage has been set for more R-rated mutant adventures involving Wade Wilson, Domino, Cable, and others when the X-Force movie debuts.