I wrote an article before the release of the Deadpool movie, and predicted that it would be the highest grossing superhero film of all time. Well, it’s not exactly that, at least by the numbers anyway. So, yes I will eat some crow. And that’s OK. I will also point out that it is one of the three most profitable spandex-clad cinematic adventures to date, and that I was spot-on as to the reasons why it would be successful.
Before the movie dropped, there were a lot of naysayers out there, a lot of armchair studio executives who worried an “R” superhero movie was just too restrictive in its audience to be successful. I will agree that by being rated “R” it did limit the number of people who could go see it, but if it had not been for its rating restriction it wouldn’t have been the same film; this character needed its “R” rating.
The resulting film is easily one of the best adaptations of a comic book character into a movie. They got the costumes right. Deadpool wasn’t changed up into some black-leather-wearing S&M reject. Colossus was done right. Negasonic Teenage Warhead was spot on, as were the supporting cast members, and all the villains. Unlike so many other superhero movies, Deadpool‘s creators knew why the property worked as a comic book and didn’t try to reinvent the wheel when filming. They proved that you can take the source material at face value, without Hollywood doctoring it all to hell, and get a hit.
Do I think this will change the way Hollywood interprets the superhero genre? Well, yes, and no. The one thing that I can say for sure is that it has challenged the idea that an R-rated superhero film won’t make enough money. The problem with this development is that Deadpool did not gratuitously aim for that rating, rather it was because Ryan Reynolds, Simon Kinberg, and Lauren Shuler Donner knew it was essential for doing the character right. So in this case, with the mix of the right character and the right creators, it worked beautifully. Would an “R” rating work for a Captain America film? No, not at all. Captain America is a different character, and has a different feel, and story.
From all of the recent chatter, it looks like Hollywood is going to slap the rating on a bunch of the upcoming adaptations. The next Wolverine film seems like a good candidate, but then I heard they are thinking of changing Superman vs Batman to an “R” rating, which I think would be a mistake. It will be a slippery slope.
Unfortunately I don’t think that Hollywood will learn the important lesson, that you don’t need to tweak these characters to make them successful. The film industry is always going to try and squeeze a dollar out of fifteen cents. They have people that deem themselves experts on what the movie-going public wants to see. Sure these guys know a lot, and are sometimes accurate with their predictions, but they are wrong just as much, if not more.
I can guarantee you that every one of the executives at Fox, the ones who dragged their feet with making this movie, they are not comic book fans. None of them pick up comics and read them for the joy of it. They are bean counters and idea men, with an overblown sense of worth and knowledge when it comes to these things. Every comic book geek knew this would be a hit, hence the uproar for wanting Dadpool to be made even BEFORE the test footage was leaked.
In the end, I’m just really happy this film got made. It was a breath of fresh air into a market that has had some really great movies. It’s also proof that when you get people who know and care about the project, beyond just he bottom line, you get something special. I for one am looking forward to the next Deadpool movie. Hell, I’m even looking forward to the effect this will have on the next Wolverine movie.