Hugh Jackman's Wolverine Dramatically Increases Deadpool 3's Box Office Prospects

The world has been waiting a long time for some significant news regarding "Deadpool 3." The Disney/Fox merger got in the way of the third entry in the franchise happening expediently, as the brass had to figure out how best to go about integrating Ryan Reynolds' foul-mouthed, super-violent Merc with the Mouth into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While we still have a great many questions, we do finally know that the movie is coming our way in 2024, and Wolverine is joining Wade Wilson for the ride.

Reynolds recently shared the rather surprising news that Hugh Jackman will reprise his role as the fan-favorite mutant one last time in "Deadpool 3," despite having hung up the claws seemingly for good in 2017's "Logan." This is a team-up audiences have been waiting a very long time to see (again), and given the genuine surprise of it all, a movie that didn't need any help raking in  money at the box office just became even more of a surefire hit.

The X factor

Just to recap, "Deadpool" and "Deadpool 2" were both wildly successful, with nearly identical grosses around the globe. The two films made a combined $1.56 billion at the global box office, an impressive feat for an R-rated movie, which shattered many records along the way. That was achieved without Jackamn's Wolverine, who is perhaps the most beloved actor to have played an A-list superhero in history, right up there with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. The notion of bringing back that version of Wolverine, in a movie with Deadpool, inside the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seven years after "Logan," and six years after "Deadpool 2" arrived? Yeah, that is a recipe to print money.

Jackman played Wolverine for 17 years, from 2000's "X-Men" up through "Logan" in 2017. His films (not counting "X-Men: First Class," since he just had a cameo), racked up more than $3.8 billion in ticket sales. Couple that with the fact that Reynolds first debuted as Deadpool in the much-maligned "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," leaving fans with a strong desire to see these two reunite now that the character of Deadpool has been perfected on the big screen, and it all adds up to something special. The writing is simply on the wall. The numbers don't lie. This movie is going to be huge.

So how high can "Deadpool 3" fly? Given that the Merc With a Mouth got near $800 million with Josh Brolin's introduction as Cable as the biggest selling point besides Reynolds, the sky would seem to be the limit. While it is way too early to get into reckless speculation territory, this feels like it could join the $1 billion club. Though a king's ransom was surely paid to get Jackman to pick up the claws again, eating into those eventual profits.

Can they pull it off?

So much of this potential success hinges on sticking the landing. For one, "Deadpool 3" had a lot of pressure to deliver even before all of this. It's been several years since the sequel hit theaters in 2018, fans have been wondering how the character will fit into the MCU, and capping off a trilogy can be very tough. Now we have the Wolverine of it all. As much as that is going to be an asset to grab attention initially, there is also some added pressure from a story perspective.

For many (myself included), "Logan" is about as good as comic book movies get, and it served as the perfect ending to that character's story. Sure, "Deadpool 3" can easily take place further back in the timeline to avoid any direct conflict, but it's still playing with fire. They are running the risk of messing up that perfect ending.

In simple terms, it comes down to this: can they make a good movie that is satisfying to the widest possible audience. That is always the trick, but there is a level of extreme fondness for the characters here that will make even general moviegoers, in all likelihood, a little precious about it. But if director Shawn Levy can pull it all together, then we're in for a treat.

"Deadpool 3" is currently set to hit theaters on September 6, 2024.