Last May is when Deadpool 2 opened, so you would think that it has squeezed all the money it can out of the box office at this point. But the Merc with a Mouth isn’t done just yet. Thanks to the PG-13 cut of the film, Once Upon a Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds’ hilarious anti-hero is still bringing in the bucks at the box office. The film just opened in China over the weekend bringing in $21.4 million.
The $21.4 million opening weekend was good enough for first place in China and brings Deadpool 2’s international box office haul to $443 million, according to Variety. It also pushes Deadpool 2 past X-Men: Days of Future Past on the worldwide chart to become the second-biggest Fox X-Men movie behind only the first Deadpool.
Whether Deadpool 2, which sits at about $767 million worldwide, can surpass the first film is less likely. Deadpool made $783.1 million worldwide, and the sequel is not expected to have major legs in China because, as Variety notes, the upcoming Chinese New Year will see the country’s box office dominated by domestic titles.
This is the first time that a Deadpool movie has been released in the Middle Kingdom, which has strict rules about sex and profanity onscreen. Therefore Deadpool and the original cut of Deadpool 2 were not released in the country. The tamer, less raunchy PG-13 cut of the sequel seems to have passed muster though, and Chinese audiences turned out at the theaters to see what they’ve been missing.
The PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 made $7 million worldwide after first releasing in December and China’s $21.4 million opening weekend makes the Once Upon A Deadpool experiment look even smarter in hindsight.
When it was first announced, a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 sounded like a way to pre-neuter the Merc with a Mouth for a new future under the family-friendly Disney umbrella. That may still be the case, but with the China release, you can see how this may have also been a play to break into that market.
China is the second-biggest box office market in the world, and making huge movies like Deadpool 2 which have no chance of playing there is undoubtedly the subject of major deliberation for publicly traded for-profit companies. Once Upon a Deadpool’s China opening was nothing on Bumblebee or Aquaman level, but it could potentially build on that number in the future.
What that future will be is anyone’s guess. Ryan Reynolds is reportedly working on Deadpool 3, but the X-Force movie has supposedly been cancelled because of the looming Disney-20th Century Fox merger. The future of X-Men movies seems very much up in the air at the moment, but Deadpool has proven his popularity and profitability now in China, so you have to think he’ll be back, one way or another.
Check out our 2019 release schedule to see the ridiculous amount of movies you need to see this year, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest news about Mercs with Mouths and merry mutants.