After an incredible opening in China this weekend, Avengers: Infinity War has rocketed up the highest-grossing film charts.

At the time of writing, the superhero behemoth is in fifth place. It has made just over £1.6 billion so far, putting it just behind Jurassic World at $1.67 billion.

Previously, Verdict estimated that Infinity War’s total box office would end up around $1.87 million, about half-way between Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

However, with China adding an estimated $200 million to the film’s total this weekend, it could go higher.

Unfortunately, the fiery, R-rated superhero bombshell Deadpool is back for his second film and threatens to stop the MCU’s latest release rising any further.

Deadpool is a known box-office smasher

When it was released in 2016, it’s widely known that 20th Century Fox expected Deadpool to be a flop.

The film was stuck in development hell for years after first being considered in 2005. The movie’s R-rated content and disconnect from previous X-Men films meant that it was given a budget of just $58 million, significantly less than the $150 million spent on the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film and the $140-$160 million estimated spend on X-Men: First Class.

In fact, the film’s producers had been given an estimate of a $65 million budget to work with. This was slashed to $58 million just 48 hours before the film was officially green-lit.

All of this makes the film’s incredible success all the more remarkable. Across Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB, the film has an average rating of 80% from critics and fans.

At the box office it made $783.1 million, 13.5 times its initial budget. That’s incredible considering the film was an action-focused superhero story released in mid-February. It’s a feat that few movies could manage and highlights just how well-received Deadpool was.

Of course, if Deadpool 2 can achieve the same success again, it’ll stand a strong chance of pulling audiences from Marvel’s Infinity War.

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How much do superhero sequels tend to make?

Until it launches, there’s no real way we can say whether Deadpool 2 will manage to snatch anything from Infinity War‘s total.

Still, we can probably come up with some sort of estimate about how well Deadpool 2 will perform itself, based on other second superhero outings.

As Deadpool is basically its own franchise (technically its a part of the X-Men franchise, but there’s been no crossover) we’ll look at sequels from the beginnings of other superhero film franchises.

Marvel Cinematic Universe:

  • Iron Man made $585.2 million
  • Iron Man 2 made $623.9 million

– 6.2% increase.

  • Captain America: The First Avenger made $370.6 million
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $714.3 million

– 48.1% increase.

  • Thor made $449.3 million
  • Thor: The Dark World made $644.6 million

– 30.3% increase.

  • Guardians Of The Galaxy made $773.3 million
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 made $863.8 million

– 10.5% increase.

  • The Avengers made $1.519 billion
  • The Avengers: Age Of Ultron made $1.405 billion

– 8.1% decrease.

Batman:

  • Batman Begins made $374.2 million
  • The Dark Knight made $1 billion

– 62.6% increase.

X-Men:

  • X-Men made $296.3 million
  • X2 made $407.7 million

– 27.3% increase.

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine made $373.1 million
  • The Wolverine made $414.8 million

– 10.0% increase.

  • X-Men: First Class made $353.6 million
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past made $747.9 million

– 52.7% increase.

Spider-Man:

  • Spiderman made $821.7 million
  • Spiderman 2 made $783.8 million

– 4.8% decrease.

  • The Amazing Spiderman made $757.9 million
  • The Amazing Spiderman 2 made $709 million

– 6.9% decrease.

Deadpool 2 box office estimate

Based on the averages of 11 different superhero sequels franchises released since 2000, Deadpool 2 is looking at an increase of 20.7% on its 2016 box office. This would put its final box office total at $945.2 million.

Of course, as these figures vary so wildly, it’s still basically impossible to tell how accurate that average will be in the end.

The other important thing to take into account is that Deadpool 2 will benefit from better release slot than its predecessor. The average box office gross between 2000 and 2017 for films released in May was $26.1 million. Obviously, a few stand-out films attract a lot more than that, but that figure alone isn’t what we’re interested in. The average box office gross between 2000 and 2018 for films released in February was $16.2 million. That’s a 62.1% increase.

If Deadpool 2 manages to gross 62.1% more than its predecessor, that’d put its final total at $1.27 billion. If it achieves this result, it’d be the 13th highest grossing film ever.

However, the likelihood is that Deadpool 2 will probably fall somewhere in between the two figures. That’d put it at $1.10 billion.

Will Deadpool 2 affect Infinity War‘s total?

In essence, can one superhero have an impact on another’s box office? Well, there have been numerous instances of superheroes clashing at the box office with similar release dates. But how much do they affect one another?

To see, we picked a few times when a number of superhero movies were released in very quick succession. These films were mostly all received pretty well, so critics’ scores shouldn’t have affected them too much.

The other thing to remember before looking at these is that films’ generally tend to cycle downwards with each subsequent weekend they’re out. In general, box office figures tend to decrease by around half after the first weekend, there’s around a 50% decrease each weekend a film is out, especially with blockbusters. There are exceptions to this (like Black Panther), but that’s the general rule.

April – May 2014:

  • Captain America: Winter Soldier – 4 April 2014
  • The Amazing Spiderman 2 – 2 May 2014
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past – 23 May 2014

Through April 2014, Captain America: Winter Soldier was riding high. As anticipated, its total dropped by 56.6% after the first weekend, 38% the following weekend, and 36.6% the weekend after. However, on the weekend The Amazing Spiderman 2 launched, it dropped by 52.1% compared to the previous weekend.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 performed less well subsequently. Its box office total dropped 61.2% after the first weekend, dropping again by 52.7% the next weekend. However, when X-Men: Days Of Future Past came out, it only dropped by 40.4%. Three weeks subsequently its drop hovered around the 50% mark. That might suggest that X-Men: Days Of Future Past actually helped bring in superhero fans to the multiplex that weekend and they went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2.

May 2016:

  • Captain America: Civil War – 6 May 2016
  • Batman Vs Superman – 25 May 2016
  • X-Men: Apocalypse – 27 May 2016

In this case, the almost simultaneous releases of Batman Vs Superman and X-Men: Apocalypse didn’t have a huge impact on Civil War‘s box office. Every weekend from its launch Civil War‘s box office dropped 55.8% from the weekend before.

In fact, the weekend where Batman Vs Superman and X-Men: Apocalypse launched, it only dropped 39.3% on the previous week, suggesting those two films’ drawing people to the cinema also prompted more than usual to go into Captain America: Civil War.

November 2017:

  • Thor: Ragnarok – 3 Nov 2017
  • Justice League – 17 Nov 2017

There’s evidence that Justice League did smack Thor: Ragnarok off its perch somewhat. Ragnarok was number one at the box office for two weeks, then along came Justice League and it was knocked down to third. The previous weekend its total had dropped 53.5% from its opening weekend. When Justice League launched, it dropped 62% on the week before.

The trouble with looking at box office drops is that it’s hardly an exact science. Plenty of things can affect how well a film does at bringing in an audience week on week. Well-received films will bring in repeat-viewings, while poorly reviewed films will fall down the box office charts more quickly.

Who is seeing Deadpool 2?

Of course, none of this would be a problem if Deadpool and Infinity War were attracting different audiences. Unfortunately though, they’re not. According to data from Movio regarding the first week of both the original Deadpool and Infinity War, both film franchises share almost the exact same audience.

Both films managed to attract about a quarter of infrequent moviegoers to the cinema. Deadpool was slightly more of a draw in this regard with 25%, to Infinity War‘s 22%.

Both audiences were almost two-thirds male: Deadpool: 65%, Infinity War: 64%.

Overall Deadpool’s audience skewed slightly younger, but the average age of viewers was almost exactly the same. The average age of Deadpool viewers was 30 compared to Infinity War‘s 33. The biggest variation is in the age cohorts of Deadpool and Infinity War viewers:

  • Age 14-30: Deadpool: 61%, Infinity War: 47%
  • Age 30-50: Deadpool: 28%, Infinity War: 39%

In terms of ethnicity, the audience for both films was very similar.

Ethnicity: Caucasian, Hispanic, African American, Other:

  • Deadpool: 59%, 20%, 13%, 8%
  • Infinity War: 55%, 21%, 15%, 9%

Matthew Liebmann, global director of Movio told Verdict:

Given that more than 60% of those who have already bought tickets to Deadpool have already seen Avengers, there is definitely room for both to thrive at the same time.

It’s also worth remembering that Disney already has a packed release schedule. The studio is dropping Solo: A Star Wars Story on 25 May, and Incredibles 2 on 15 June. Both films are science-fiction fantasies which will address similar family audiences as Infinity War. Maybe Disney has decided that Infinity War has had its day and are moving onto the next thing.

Either way, there’s evidence to suggest that Deadpool 2 could both help or hinder Avengers: Infinity War at the box office.