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"Deadpool" Kicks Off a Blowout Year for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

By Motley Fool Staff – Feb 19, 2016 at 5:42PM

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Crude language, graphic violence, and a brilliant marketing campaign have turned this little-known superhero into a leading movie franchise.

It's been a little more than a week since Deadpool's release, and the offbeat superhero film has already broken multiple records. In fact, it's quickly on its way to being one of the most-successful R-rated movies ever.

In this clip, Sean O'Reilly and Vincent Shen talk about how well the movie did domestically and internationally, the records it broke on its opening weekend, and what this all means for Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX) (FOXA).

Listen to the full podcast by clicking here. A full transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on Feb. 16, 2016. 

Sean O'Reilly: So, what were the financial ramifications of the success of this movie?

Vincent Shen: Yeah, so, the film has done incredibly well. The buzz around it, the general critical reception, has allowed it to break quite a few records for its category.

O'Reilly: The marketing alone was genius.

Shen: Yeah.

O'Reilly: They had those funny billboards, they made it like a rom-com. I mean, all of it was just, anyway.

Shen: Yes, so, domestically, they're estimating that it generated about $150 million in ticket sales; foreign box office receipts about 130.

O'Reilly: Right, these are huge numbers for...

Shen: Total take from the long and double holiday weekend, which I'm sure benefited them, was a little over $280 million, and this is on a $58 million budget, approximately, which doesn't include all of the marketing costs, which were probably extensive for this film, but just, you know...

O'Reilly: But even if that doubled it, just let's pretend they spent 120.

Shen: Overall, this is still an extremely relatively modest budget, not only for a major studio production, but for one of these superhero productions, in particular, these generally have, you know, usually cost over $100 million to produce.

O'Reilly: Right. What popped into my mind when you showed me this earlier was, if memory serves, I think, The Dark Knight, which the buzz around that was huge back in 2007/2008 or whatever. I think that made, I mean, if it made over $180 million, it wasn't much more on opening weekend. It was probably $220 (million) or something, and that's for a PG-13 movie. This was a very, very, very rated-R film, and it made this much money.

Shen: The movie did incredibly well, and they actually now claim the No. 1 spot for several categories, best-rated R opening weekend of all time, best February opening weekend of all time. Those same records apply for all IMAX theaters, as well, and it's actually the biggest opening for the studio that produced it, 20th Century Fox, which we will get to, and what that means for their parent company. But another interesting fact is the director's name is Tim Miller -- this was actually his first major film production. His previous credits include some short films, some visual effects work on popular video games; but again, this is the biggest new-director opening weekend, as well.

O'Reilly: Having seen the film, I have to think that the visual effects -- that the director had some experience, which came in handy.

Shen: Exactly, and some of the international markets did very well for Fox, including Australia, Taiwan, Brazil, Hong Kong. Again, all their biggest openings for that studio, and in the end, the high ratings, positive buzz from the audiences to drive a lot of momentum for the movie. It's not coming up against, like, huge releases in the next week, so it's very likely built enough on that momentum to probably claim the No. 1 spot again for next weekend. An interesting note, actually, was for this past weekend was the first one that Star Wars: The Force Awakens had dropped out of the top five.

O'Reilly: The force was strong with Deadpool.

Shen: Since that movie came out in mid-December, this is the first weekend -- now we're in mid-February -- that it's dropped out of the top five for the weekend, so it looks like the run for that movie's officially starting to wind down really.

Sean O'Reilly has no position in any stocks mentioned. Vincent Shen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends IMAX. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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