Deadpool & Wolverine Advertising Focuses on What Audiences Want

Tickets are already selling like ice cubes in the desert (I’ve got mine for opening night), but the Deadpool & Wolverine marketing train isn’t slowing down. Today, Marvel released a new trailer for their upcoming superhero movie – their only theatrical release this year – and like every piece of advertising for the team-up film, it’s all about the promise of fun. Deadpool and Wolverine finally teams Ryan Reynolds’ and Hugh Jackman’s healing-factor heroes on a multiversal adventure full of action, comedy, and the rubble of a demolished fourth wall. Directed by Shawn Levy (whom Marvel wants more of, but I won’t hold that against him), Deadpool & Wolverine cuts its way into theaters on July 26, 2024. You can see the new “Best Friends Day” trailer below:

Whoever’s in charge of the marketing for this movie deserves about half the budget and a permanent job as head of the department (although part of me thinks it’s Ryan Reynolds). Deadpool’s opening narration is perfect; he reiterates the concept (Deadpool and Wolverine teaming up) and says, “Can you imagine the fun?” That’s exactly the way to sell it because it’s what audiences are starved for. This weekend, Bad Boys: Ride or Die is looking not only to meet the already limited box office expectations so many 2024 films failed to achieve but to surpass them. Why? I think John Nolte’s take is exactly right: they made a movie people wanted to see with likable movie stars being cool and doing fun stuff. I wasn’t crazy about the new Bad Boys (although it’s got an A- CinemaScore, and the audience in the theater with me was clapping and cheering at the end, so what do I know?), but it was fun, and I didn’t feel like I’d been hoodwinked into getting a lecture when I signed up to watch an entertaining buddy cop movie.

You can see this in the movies that have succeeded this year. Dune: Part Two is not light entertainment; it’s hard sci-fi laden with heady themes, as opposed to Martin Lawrence and Will Smith goofing off between shoot-outs, but this is what people wanted from Dune. They didn’t get their expectations subverted by a girlboss wagging her finger over race relations, or the Emperor being a Donald Trump stand-in, or something stupid and off-putting like that. Moreover, because the last Dune movie was so good, people trusted Dune: Part Two to deliver. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a lousy film, but it has plenty of monster mayhem, which is what people want from these flicks, and again, it was preceded by a film that delivered on that promise. Kung Fu Panda 4 was a fun movie for kids that parents trusted not to pull a Disney and turn the ninjas into drag queens – again because all the other movies in the series were reliably entertaining and kid-friendly. Even The Garfield Movie is looking like a hit because it’s a silly kids’ movie about Garfield.

Do you notice the pattern with these films? There’s an element of trust built into them, aside from The Garfield Movie. And that’s what Deadpool & Wolverine has that the rest of the Marvel slate doesn’t. When you see a trailer for the next poorly written MCU wokefest, you probably see Kevin Feige and Bob Iger telling you to suppress your toxic masculinity. But when you look at the ads for Deadpool & Wolverine, you see Ryan Reynolds bragging about finally getting Hugh Jackman to join him on a fun, blood-and-profanity-laden adventure. People have seen the other Deadpool movies, and they know what to expect. And for those who keep up with the entertainment world, it’s been heavily suggested that Deadpool & Wolverine will be sticking it to Marvel and Disney big time, which promises some catharsis for a fan base that’s had it with their garbage movies and insults directed at the people who fund them. Wade and Logan are our wrecking ball, and they’re coming for Phase 5 with a middle finger extended on one hand and a cold beer in the other.

To that end, Deadpool & Wolverine gives the impression of not being sanitized for today’s ultra-sensitive audience. That audience, by the way, exists only on college campuses and in Hollywood writers’ rooms. The actual moviegoing public is made up of normal people who like to laugh and don’t get offended by everything under the sun. That tagline in the trailer, “Coming together is hard,” is hilarious and totally in keeping with Deadpool’s sense of humor. The first trailer (which I still watch every couple of days) even had Wolverine make a gender-identity joke at Deadpool’s expense – THE HORROR! But while the woke are crying in their couscous over it, the rest of us are laughing at how two of our favorite comic book characters joke around the same way we do. I’m not one of those people who needs constant validation (a side-effect of toxic masculinity, I guess), but still, it’s nice to be reminded once in a while that we’re not the crazy ones.

And that’s what it ultimately comes down to: a movie like Deadpool & Wolverine, just like Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Dune: Part Two, Godzilla x Kong, Kung Fu Panda 4, and probably even The Garfield Movie, speaks to our shared humanity in ways most movies released nowadays simply don’t. And it’s not an accident that those are all very different movies with different character types and different themes. You can say almost anything as long as you do it in a way people relate to on some level, be it the friendship of Bad Boys, the gee-whiz cool monster stuff of Godzilla x Kong, the philosophical musings of Dune, the honor and duty of Kung Fu Panda, or the lazy gluttony of Garfield. But you get to that place by focusing on the characters, not on whatever message you want to shove into your half-assed script. The characters and story should always come first, but we’re in a movie era where they usually aren’t considered at all because the filmmakers and screenwriters have a PSA to shove in our faces. And Deadpool & Wolverine is being advertised as a fun, irreverent movie that’s in love with two characters the audience wants to see again. No wonder it’s already packing ‘em in.

I mean, good God, look at the genius of this:

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