The movie Deadpool grossed $132 million at the domestic box office last weekend, setting a record for R-rated openings, and dousing its $58 million budget in black ink. 

The bountiful returns have spurred the entertainment industry to analyze the marketing magic of the movie. Everyone is wondering: How did a film about a minor Marvel character make so much money? 

Entertainment Weekly posed this very question to Marc Weinstock, head of domestic marketing at 20th Century Fox, the primary production company behind the film. Weinstock pointed to three marketing moves.

1. The film stayed true to the original traits of the Deadpool character, appeasing hardcore fans. 

Instead of sanitizing Deadpool, and making him a family-friendly hero with a chic costume, the filmmakers were intent on creating a movie that diehards would appreciate. This meant that the film would have to be R rated, rather than PG-13, since Deadpool is a notoriously twisted wise ass with almost no sense of boundaries.

In addition, the studio stayed true to Deadpool's original costume, which is inextricably linked to his personality and attributes, heroic and otherwise. When another version of the Deadpool character had appeared in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverinethe representation alienated many longtime fans for several reasons, not the least of which was the liberty it took with his costume. 

Weinstock told EW that Deadpool was intent in its early marketing to allay fans' concerns. "They had two big fears," he said. "One was the costume, and two was the R rating. If they didn't get the costume right, they knew that this was trouble, and if it wasn't R rated, they would say, 'This isn't Deadpool. This is some abomination.'"

2. The star of the film, Ryan Reynolds, was fully on board. 

As early promotion began, the campaign focused on convincing Deadpool's longtime fans that this movie was not mainstream--it was for them, the dyed-in-the-costume fans. Reynolds's participation was essential to the strategy. "He put on the suit five or six times for full days of shoots on [promotional] content," Weinstock told EW.

For example, check out this mock celebrity interview between Reynolds and Mario Lopez, in which the topic is whether the film will have a PG-13 rating: 

 

\n

 

\n

This helped prove that the Deadpool character, as played by Reynolds, would be his wise-cracking, metaphysical, no-boundary self--and that he'd be wearing the proper attire.

\n

3. Audaciousness always wins. 

\n

The R rating freed up the marketing team to be bold. \"We knew it wasn't like, 'How are we going to get every single person all at once, all audiences. Because we're R rated, we can't get teenagers, so how do we get a bunch of adults?'\" Weinstock told EW.

\n

One of the answers was through an audacious billboard with two not-so-family-friendly emojis: A skull (\"dead\") and a pile of something that belongs in a toilet (\"poo\"). Followed by the letter \"L,\" the billboard spelled out the title of the film--and its unique lead character--in a risqué way you wouldn't normally associate with a major motion picture, especially one about a Marvel character.

\n

It was one more sign to hardcore fans that they could put their faith in the film. And after a $132 million opening weekend, it's safe to say their faith paid off. 

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\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
\r\n\r\nit's the above\r\n\r\n3 Marketing Moves That Made “Deadpool” a $132-Million Smash\r\n\r\nHow Deadpool became a record-breaking viral sensation\r\nInside the marketing strategy that turned Ryan Reynolds' superhero movie into a game-changing blockbuster\r\nBY KEVIN P. SULLIVAN\r\n\r\nhttp://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/17/deadpool-viral-marketing-campaign?xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter\r\n\r\nDeadpool wasn’t supposed to work.\r\n\r\nThe superhero movie, starring Ryan Reynolds as a niche Marvel character known primarily to comic book readers and those unfortunate enough to have seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was developed and then blocked by 20th Century Fox for years until test footage the studio commissioned “leaked” online, and the fan demand grew too loud to ignore. The production got the greenlight on a relatively tight budget ($58 million) and a mid-February release date, both of which pointed to modest expectations on return.\r\n\r\n“Deadpool appearing in Origins is not the Deadpool we are representing in this film, in any way shape or form,” Reynolds told EW’s Jess Cagle and Jessica Shaw Saturday on EW Live on SiriusXM\r\n\r\nhttp://www.ew.com/article/2015/07/11/ryan-reynolds-deadpool-corrects-mistakes-x-men-origins-wolverine\r\n\r\nhttp://screenrant.com/worst-deadpool-scenes-x-men-origins-wolverine/?view=all\r\n\r\nng the numerous ways the Deadpool character was dismembered, the most obvious might be the absence of his classic suit. Normally, suits don’t make the hero, so it’s OK to vary from the classic interpretations. The X-Men franchise had already been doing that for years, so why does Deadpool’s suit matter so much?\r\n\r\nDeadpool is the rare example of a character whose super-suit is intrinsically tied to the character himself, and cannot be abandoned. Modified? Sure. The comics do that all the time. But the classic red and black suit, including the mask with white eyes, is necessary, because that’s Deadpool’s actual emblem.\r\n\r\nSpider-Man, Batman, Superman, the X-Men, and most other classic comic characters all have emblems that can basically be slapped on a loose interpretation of their costume, and most audiences would agree that it still represents said character. When Deadpool’s actual emblem is his masked face, it’s hard to take the same liberty.\r\n\r\nHis costume also hides his scars. Deadpool has a lot of love from his fans because of the dichotomy between his scarred visage under the (sometimes) clean outer shell. In the same way that he masks his mental scars with irreverent humor, he masks his physical scars with his suit. The post-Weapon X half of the character was basically a living scar, completely exposed without a suit – a far cry from the core of the character we know from the comics. The complexity of the character himself was reduced to being just another villain in a forgettable movie. \r\n\r\nDeadpool also lacked many visual character tells. We know Storm because of her white hair. We know Wolverine because of his hair and claws. Cyclops wears a visor or sunglasses. Take away their spandex, and they are still visually iconic characters. It’s not the same with Deadpool. When his powers and appearance don’t jump off the screen and say “Look, I’m Deadpool,” he becomes just another freaky-looking faceless villain.\r\n\r\nNow, the industry is reeling from the massive surprise success of Deadpool, which took $132 million domestic in its opening weekend, roughly doubling what Fox’s pre-release tracking – traditionally geared toward lowering expectations – and became the biggest opening for a R-rated film.\r\n\r\nAnd since success breeds imitators – or at least hungry execs looks for a way to imitate – the Deadpool domination has the industry speculating about the ingredients of Wade Wilson’s secret sauce, something the character would obviously enjoy. Was it the R-rating? Had the superhero audience grown tired of neutered PG-13 fare that could never go the extra gory mile? Did the Deadpool returns act as an extension of Marvel Studios’ win with Guardians of the Galaxy and its irreverent sense of humor?\r\n\r\nOr was it that Reynolds, director Tim Miller, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick made a movie that stayed true to the character, therefore appealing to his pre-established fans, and from there, Fox’s marketing department bombard the general public with advertising, selling the film on its merits?\r\n\r\nWe’d guess it was probably that last one. And Marc Weinstock, the head of domestic marketing at Fox, would agree with that assessment.\r\n\r\nSpeaking with Entertainment Weekly in the days after the first weekend receipts came in for Deadpool, Weinstock explained the first order of business when it came to selling the movie was assuaging fan concerns.\r\n\r\n“They had two big fears,” he said. “One was the costume, and two was the R-rating. If they didn’t get the costume right, they knew that this was trouble, and if it wasn’t R-rated, they would say, ‘This isn’t Deadpool. This is some abomination.’”\r\n\r\nThe solution was two-fold. This image…\r\n\r\nAnd this video\r\n\r\nThe two promos sent a specific message in a way that matched the tone of the film, and both benefited from the participation of Reynolds, who according to Weinstock was invaluable to the marketing strategy.\r\n\r\n“Ryan was a huge partner in this,” Weinstock said. “We came up with a bunch of crazy ideas, and he was like, ‘Great! I’ll do it.’ He put on the suit five or six times for full day of shoots on special content.”\r\n\r\nDeadpool was gaining traction as an viral and primarily online entity thanks to the stunts, but with an audience who came pre-sold. The fans who watched Deadpool kill Mario Lopez and announce an R-rating were always going to see it. The same could be said for some of the more in-joke marketing campaign, which included an all-emoji billboard and banner ads \r\n\r\né\r\nthat sold the film as a typical rom-com.\r\n\r\n“It traveled digitally so quick and so far that people who had never heard of Deadpool where confused, like ‘What is this thing?’ So they had a code they wanted to crack,” Weinstock said of the billboards. “When they figured it out, they had to tell someone.”\r\n\r\nThough these examples were certainly the loudest, they represented a small fraction of Fox’s marketing output. The rest was geared at potential audience members who didn’t know what the hell “skull emoji,” “poo emoji,” and L meant went read together. This included buying out all of the ad space for three hours of content across five Viacom networks. People watching those channels would see no commercials, aside from a constant stream of messages telling them to go see Deadpool (in theaters Thursday).\r\n\r\n“Because it was made for $58 million, we knew it wasn’t like, ‘How are we going to get every single person all at once, all audiences. Because we’re R-rated, we can’t get teenagers, so how do we get a bunch of adults?’” Weinstock said. “It wasn’t really a fear, but a challenge, because we knew that we’d get an audience to see this, and we really wanted to blow it out.”\r\n\r\nSo maybe there is a lesson here. With an original film, support from the creative talent, and a butt-load of marketing, any movie can be a big hit. Or as Weinstock puts it, “Originally always wins. Audaciousness always wins. When you show something to the audience that they’ve never seen before, they get excited.”\r\n\r\n","inc_track_changesflag":false,"time_updated":"2018-05-17 11:50:03","channels":[{"id":25,"cnl_name":"Marketing","cnl_filelocation":"marketing","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":"F6861F","cnl_contributor_accessflag":true,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":null},{"id":289,"cnl_name":"Competition and Market Share","cnl_filelocation":"competition-and-market-share","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":"F6861F","cnl_contributor_accessflag":false,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":1},{"id":534,"cnl_name":"Branding","cnl_filelocation":"branding","cnl_featuretype":"None","cnl_custom_color":null,"cnl_calculated_color":null,"cnl_contributor_accessflag":false,"cnl_custom_article_footer":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_color":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_start":null,"cnl_global_nav_background_gradient_end":null,"cnl_iflid":0,"sortorder":2}],"categories":[],"primarychannelarray":null,"authors":[{"id":3662,"aut_name":"Ilan Mochari","aut_usrid":0,"aut_base_filelocation":"ilan-mochari","aut_imgid":31407,"aut_twitter_id":"IlanMochari","aut_title":"Senior writer, Inc.","aut_blurb":"Ilan Mochari's debut novel, Zinsky the Obscure (Fomite Press, 2013), earned rave reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist. Boston's NPR station named it one of 10 \"Good Reads for the Summer.\" He is a senior writer for Inc. magazine.","aut_footer_blurb":null,"aut_column_name":null,"aut_atyid":1,"aut_newsletter_location":null,"authorimage":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/100x100/Ilan_Mochari_Inc.com_31407.jpg","sortorder":null}],"images":[{"id":81829,"sortorder":null}],"inlineimages":[],"photoEssaySlides":null,"readMoreArticles":null,"slideshows":[],"videos":[],"bzwidgets":null,"relatedarticles":null,"comparisongrids":[],"products":[],"keys":["Colleen DeBaise","Marketing","Competition and Market Share","Branding","Ilan Mochari","Inc.com staff writer"],"meta_description":"How a film about a niche Marvel character blew up at the box office. ","brandview":null,"internationalversion":[],"imagemodels":[{"id":81829,"img_foreignkey":"506806088","img_gettyflag":true,"img_reusableflag":false,"img_rightsflag":false,"img_usrid":0,"img_pan_crop":"{\"x\":0,\"y\":45,\"h\":928,\"w\":2000,\"img_h\":1333,\"img_w\":2000}","img_tags":null,"img_reference_name":"getty_506806088_200013332000928045.jpg","img_caption":"Ryan Reynolds.","img_custom_credit":null,"img_bucketref":null,"img_panoramicref":"getty_506806088_200013332000928045.jpg","img_super_panoramicref":null,"img_tile_override_imageref":null,"img_skyscraperref":null,"img_gallery_imageref":null,"credit":"Getty Images","sizes":{"panoramic":{"original":"uploaded_files/image/getty_506806088_200013332000928045.jpg","1230x1672":"uploaded_files/image/1230x1672/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","1940x900":"uploaded_files/image/1940x900/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","1270x734":"uploaded_files/image/1270x734/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","0x734":"uploaded_files/image/0x734/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","1150x540":"uploaded_files/image/1150x540/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","970x450":"uploaded_files/image/970x450/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","640x290":"uploaded_files/image/640x290/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","635x367":"uploaded_files/image/635x367/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","0x367":"uploaded_files/image/0x367/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","575x270":"uploaded_files/image/575x270/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","385x240":"uploaded_files/image/385x240/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","336x336":"uploaded_files/image/336x336/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","300x520":"uploaded_files/image/300x520/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","300x200":"uploaded_files/image/300x200/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","284x160":"uploaded_files/image/284x160/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","155x90":"uploaded_files/image/155x90/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","100x100":"uploaded_files/image/100x100/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg","50x50":"uploaded_files/image/50x50/getty_506806088_200013332000928045_81829.jpg"}}}],"formatted_text":"<p>The movie <em>Deadpool</em>&nbsp;grossed $132 million at the domestic box office last weekend, setting a record for R-rated openings, and dousing its $58&nbsp;million budget in black ink.&nbsp;</p>\n<p>The bountiful returns have spurred the entertainment industry to analyze the marketing magic of the movie. Everyone is wondering: How did a film about a minor Marvel character make so much money?&nbsp;</p>\n<p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/17/deadpool-viral-marketing-campaign"><em>Entertainment Weekly</em></a>&nbsp;posed this very question to&nbsp;Marc Weinstock, head of domestic marketing at&nbsp;20th Century Fox, the primary production company behind the film. Weinstock pointed to three marketing moves.</p>\n<h2>1. The film stayed true to the original traits of the Deadpool character,&nbsp;appeasing&nbsp;hardcore fans.&nbsp;</h2>\n<p>Instead of sanitizing Deadpool, and making him a family-friendly hero with a chic costume, the filmmakers were intent on creating a movie that diehards would appreciate. This meant that the film would have to be R rated, rather than PG-13, since Deadpool is a notoriously twisted wise&nbsp;ass with almost no sense of boundaries.</p>\n<p>In addition, the studio stayed true to Deadpool's original costume, which is inextricably linked to his personality and attributes, heroic and otherwise. When another version of the Deadpool character had appeared in the 2009 film <em>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</em>,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://screenrant.com/worst-deadpool-scenes-x-men-origins-wolverine/?view=all">the representation alienated many longtime fans</a>&nbsp;for several reasons, not the least of which was the liberty it took with his costume.&nbsp;</p>\n<p>Weinstock told <em>EW </em>that <em>Deadpool</em>&nbsp;was intent&nbsp;in its early marketing to allay fans' concerns. "They had two big fears," he said. "One was the costume, and two was the R rating. If they didn't get the costume right, they knew that this was trouble, and if it wasn't R rated, they would say, 'This isn't Deadpool. This is some abomination.'"</p>\n<h2>2. The star of the film, Ryan Reynolds, was fully on board.&nbsp;</h2>\n<p>As early promotion began, the campaign focused on convincing Deadpool's longtime fans that this movie was not mainstream--it was for <em>them</em>, the dyed-in-the-costume fans. Reynolds's participation was essential to the strategy.&nbsp;"He put on the suit five or six times for full days of shoots on [promotional] content," Weinstock told <em>EW</em>.</p>\n<p>For example, check out this mock celebrity interview between Reynolds and Mario Lopez, in which the topic is whether the film will have a PG-13 rating:&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<div class="extvideo"><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z5TB0pKLj0Y" width="560"></iframe></div>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>This helped prove&nbsp;that the Deadpool character, as played by Reynolds, would be his wise-cracking, metaphysical, no-boundary self--and that he'd be wearing the proper attire.</p>\n<h2>3. Audaciousness always wins.&nbsp;</h2>\n<p>The R rating freed up the marketing team to be bold. "We knew it wasn't like, 'How are we going to get every single person all at once, all audiences. Because we're R rated, we can't get teenagers, so how do we get a bunch of adults?'" Weinstock told <em>EW</em>.</p>\n<p>One of the answers was through an audacious billboard with two not-so-family-friendly emojis: A skull ("dead") and a pile of something that belongs in a toilet ("poo"). Followed by the letter "L," the billboard spelled out the title of the film--and its unique lead character--in a risqué way you wouldn't normally associate with a major motion picture, especially one about a Marvel character.</p>\n<p>It was one more sign to hardcore fans that they could put their faith in the film.&nbsp;And after a $132&nbsp;million opening weekend, it's safe to say their faith paid off.&nbsp;</p>","adinfo":{"c_type":"formattedarticle","showlogo":true,"cms":"inc88476","video":"no","aut":["ilan-mochari"],"channelArray":{"topid":"534","topfilelocation":"branding","primary":["grow","grow","grow"],"primaryFilelocation":["grow","grow","grow"],"primaryname":["Grow","Grow","Grow"],"sub":["branding","marketshr","mktg"],"subFilelocation":["branding","competition-and-market-share","marketing"],"subname":["Branding","Competition and Market Share","Marketing"]},"adzone":"/4160/mv.inc/grow/branding/branding"},"seriesname":null,"editorname":"Colleen 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