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Ryan Reynolds made the Deadpool movie in his hometown of Vancouver.

Deadpool Movie Is a Hit, Both at the Box Office & for B.C.’s Economy

This weekend’s release of Deadpool shattered all box office expectations, creating a new record for a February movie release with $135 million dollars. It also forged a new record for the highest-opening for an R-rated film, beating 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded by more than $40 million dollars.

Filmed in various locations in the Lower Mainland, Deadpool also gives our local film production industry another win: the movie injected $40 million dollars into B.C.’s economy for the 58 days it shot here. Over 2,000 crew members, local actors and extras were employed, giving these trained workers $19 million in wages.

“Vancouver continues to be an attractive and competitive production hub, with outstanding scenery,” commented David Starke, Executive Vice President, Physical Production for Twentieth Century Fox. “We were thrilled to shoot in B.C. where we had access to some of the best cast and crew, and a variety of locations that provided the ideal backdrop for so many of the movie’s most exciting scenes.”

Starke may be referring to the climactic car chase and gunfight sequence that was filmed on downtown Vancouver’s Georgia Street Viaduct. In April 2015 the Deadpool production shot on the Viaduct, with the roadway closed to traffic for 10 days. The sequence is one of the movie’s longest ones, showing off the False Creek waterfront and skyline of Vancouver as the red-and-black costumed superhero squares off against armed bad guys.

deadpool georgia viaduct

Deadpool faces bad guys on Vancouver’s Georgia Viaduct.

Facts & Figures from Deadpool’s Bottom Line

“I have seen firsthand the enormous positive impact that productions like Deadpool have had on our city,” said Gregor Robertson, Vancouver’s Mayor. “Film and television production continues to be a billion dollar industry here, and it is a growing contributor to Vancouver’s nation-leading economic growth.”

The Mayor makes an important point. Vancouver and B.C. have earned the nickname “Hollywood North” for the hundreds of movie and television productions that have filmed in our backyard. But when you take a closer look at the dollar impact, you’ll begin to see how this creative sector helps pump tens of millions of dollars into our economy.

For example, on just the Deadpool production alone:

  • The crew spent nearly $815,000 on hotel rooms, catering and food costs
  • Nearly $780,000 was spent on truck & car rentals, plus additional transportation costs
  • North of $735,000 went to construction costs on the movie
  • And more than $1 million was earmarked on location costs

 

The Reynolds Connection

While B.C.’s reputation for highly experienced crews helped, let’s not forget that local boy-made-good Ryan Reynolds also played a huge part in getting Deadpool to the big screen. Reynolds had first originated the merc with a mouth character in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which had some pick-up photography shot at UBC. While that movie’s version of the character wasn’t what Reynolds had hoped for, his belief in giving Deadpool a second screen chance and getting back to the comic book roots of the hero have now paid off.

“I got to push it to my hometown…really so I could see my mom,” the actor recently told etalk about why he fought to get his movie made where his roots are. “But Vancouver has some of the best production facilities in the world and I really wanted to be in Vancouver and be home.”

Vancouver Now the Top Dog in Special Visual Effects

On Wednesday, July 8 the new world headquarters of Sony Pictures Imageworks held its grand opening celebration. Centrally located in downtown Vancouver, the 74,000 square foot facility now employs 700 full-time digital animators and special visual effects artists, making the city tops in the world for workers in this industry.

Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson attended the opening and took the opportunity to speak about the growing presence of B.C. as a visual effects powerhouse. According to the latest information released by the Vancouver Economic Commission, B.C.’s largest city is now the world’s biggest hub for animation and special visual effects. The latest estimates peg over 5,000 people as being employed by local animation and effects studios.

“B.C. is thriving because we have a diverse economy and diverse markets – and tech is leading the way,” said Premier Christy Clark at the opening. “With a highly skilled talent base, attractive lifestyle and business climate, B.C. is increasingly a global destination for digital media giants.”

Imageworks is busy creating the computer generated animation for Hotel Transylvania 2, featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Steve Buscemi. They are also working on crafting special effects for next summer’s superhero film Suicide Squad and the reboot of Ghostbusters starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. Special effects for the next Spider-Man movie will also be done at the Vancouver facility.