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Without a doubt, this year’s Deadpool was one of the biggest surprises to come out in recent memory. This was a film that was a good seven years in the making — that wallowed in development hell for half a decade before the test footage was “mysteriously” leaked online by probably not Ryan Reynolds or one of the writers. Only then did it finally gain the support it needed from the studio to move forward. 

But the surprise didn’t begin or end with the actual quality of the finished product. As great as the film itself ended up being, perhaps the most interesting part of the whole story was the marketing campaign. Usually, your standard superhero film goes through the stereotypical stages of marketing: A poster. A teaser. A trailer. A second trailer. And then whatever connections are needed to get the word out on TV and social media (okay, clearly, I’m no marketing professional, but you get the idea). Instead, with Deadpool, we were treated to a whole bevy of images, hilarious viral videos, and fourth wall-breaking goodness — who can forget that R-rating announcement when Deadpool knocked out Mario Lopez?

Speaking with THR, Reynolds reflected on his ability to really go nuts with the character, and how the studio was magically able to make quick turnaround on his ideas.

“I’ve never taken ownership like this before. I could email [Fox domestic marketing chief Marc Weinstock] or anyone on his team at three in the morning with pitches and ideas, and somehow a response would come back within 10 or 15 minutes.”

Of course, anyone who’s worked in a corporate world will know that large companies usually take a long time to pivot — bureaucracy is ever the adversary to creative impulsiveness. So the fact that that they were able to respond to Reynolds so quickly is pretty darn impressive. Perhaps one of the reasons why they were able to take such chances in their marketing had to do with the relatively small risk the film was (at less than a $60 million budget), and the non-traditional nature of the character.

Reynolds continued:

“Deadpool is probably the most unpolished superhero out there, and it gave us this almost unfair advantage. We used this opportunity over and over because we had a character that is a total misfit and f—ing rascal. I can channel this guy [Deadpool] in a way I just can’t seem to channel anything else. When it comes to Deadpool’s sensibility, and certainly his sense of humor, I feel like we were born on the same end of the spectrum.”

The rest is history. Fox made bank on Deadpool, taking in over $780 million on a modest mid-budget film, skyrocketing it to the number one highest grossing R-rated film of all time, with a sequel hitting in less than a year and a half.

Not bad for a film that had a hard enough time getting made.

Deadpool 2 hits theaters on January 12, 2018.

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