Maximum Effort: How Deadpool 2 won the marketing battle
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
If you haven't noticed the marketing for Deadpool 2, you simply have not been paying attention enough. They don't call him The Merc with a Mouth for no reason - and the anti-hero has certainly been using it to promote the sequel to the 2016 hit.
Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, has appeared on Korean television, singing 'Tomorrow' from Annie dressed as a unicorn (yes, you read that correctly), he has trolled football legend David Beckham and apologised in a viral video, and he has even danced in Celine Dion's latest music video. At the end of the clip, he told the music superstar: "Well it's too good. This is Deadpool 2, not Titanic. You're at like an 11, we need to get you down to a five, five-and-a-half tops, just phone it in."
He has also edited Good Housekeeping magazine (yes, really), parodied painter Bob Ross in the "Wet on Wet" teaser, and made all the usual jokes at Wolverine, the DC Extended Universe, and the Avengers.
The marketing campaign for the first Deadpool was an unmitigated success. The R-rated superhero movie exceeded the expectations of its studio, grossing $783.1 million on a $58 million budget. The creative team behind Deadpool have put "maximum effort" into its sequel's marketing, and it is a winning formula.
As Cinema Blend notes, the key to the movie's success is "letting Deadpool be Deadpool", and the result is that it is winning the summer movie marketing game. "Rather than play it safe with just the run-of-the-mill promotions that the Fox/Marvel's brainchild began with, they're dipping into some interesting tricks that used to be handy back in the 1980s and 1990s era of film marketing," they write. It works in two ways: nostalgia is drawing in audience members, and it is attracting laughs as it ridicules these methods.
The studio may have found a new way to promote their future films by rewriting the book on blockbuster marketing, according to Forbes. There is a bitter war between moviegoers who crave "copious and almost daily drips of marketing" and filmmakers who want to avoid spoilers and let the audience walk into the cinemas relatively unaware. Fox has a chance, they argue, to sell this film with a much heavier emphasis on viral content and "tomfoolery" than conventional trailers, teasers, and imagery.
When the first Deadpool movie was released, Reynolds and the creative team were gunning for respectability - but Deadpool 2 is "not the scrappy underdog the original was". The Hollywood Reporter argues: "It's a sequel with a slightly bigger budget, an expanded roster of characters (including Josh Brolin as Cable) and all the expectations that come with it. In other words, it's no longer fighting for respectability, but instead looking to prove the first film wasn't a fluke."
Deadpool 2 is released in cinemas today.