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Director David Leitch on Deadpool 2 becoming highest-grossing X-Men film: 'Exciting' and 'surreal'

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Feb 4, 2019, 10:50 AM EST

Wade Wilson may be a jokester, but no one is laughing now that Deadpool 2 is the highest-grossing X-Men film from 20th Century Fox in box office history.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Marvel sequel (including its PG-13 re-cut, Once Upon a Deadpool) passed $784 million at the global box office during the Super Bowl weekend, thus obtaining dominance over all other mutant movies. This is merely a passing of the torch within the Deadpool franchise as the first installment previously held the all-time record with $783 million worldwide. 

"It’s exciting, and kind of surreal," director David Leitch said in a statement to SYFY WIRE. "To follow up such a beloved and successful film was a daunting task. It’s success is a testament to the group of talented artists and executives that worked their asses off to make it. I’m so proud of them. I’m also grateful to be part of the Deadpool world and to have experienced Ryan’s mad-talented vision, his comic prowess and his embodiment of a character that has transcended superhero films and infected pop culture in a uniquely dynamic way."

Deadpool 2 opened in theaters last May and revolved around Wade (played by Ryan Reynolds) assembling the X-Force after the death of his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). While mostly disposable fodder in the name of comedy, the members (other than Domino) were Shatterstar (Lewis Tan), Bedlam (Terry Crews), Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård), Peter (Rob Delaney), and Vanisher (Brad Pitt—yes, Brad Pitt).

The follow-up (written by Reynolds, Paul Wernick, and Rhett Reese) also introduced iconic characters like Cable (Josh Brolin), Domino (Zazie Beetz), and Firefist (Julian Dennison). Returning faces included: Colossus (Stefan Kapičić), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Dopinder (Karan Soni), Weasel (T.J. Miller), and Juggernaut (also Reynolds; the villain was last played by Vinnie Jones in X-Men: The Last Stand).

Prior to December, Deadpool 2's global box office tally clocked in at around $738 million. This got a boost from Once Upon a Deadpool, a Christmas-themed version of the sequel that used The Princess Bride (complete with Fred Savage) as a framing device. It also helped that the PG-13 version received a release in China, which did not screen the R-rated version when it arrived last year.

The next X-Men film to hit theaters will be Dark Phoenix on June 7.

Reynolds, Wernick, Reese, and longtime X-Men producer, Simon Kinberg, did not immediately respond to SYFY WIRE's request for comment