Movie studios are becoming more and more reluctant to invest in R rated comic book movies, and don't kid yourself, that's not because of some sort of artistic choice either, it's because of avarice, pure and simple. The studios are no longer content with making a measly $100/$200 million at the Box Office anymore, they all want a taste of the tantalizing prospect of some of that 'Dark Knight/Avengers' style money. I don't blame them for that, movies cost money to make and having your film land the 'PG-13' rating versus Restricted would in most scenarios guarantee those Scrooge McDuck like gold piles that you can jump into.
The film, 'Deadpool', is on its way to becoming one of the most modern successful movie launches ever and it killed the competition with a 150 million four day opening.
So, What do you suppose made 'Deadpool' a runaway success?
The marketing was brilliant. They played on the fact that the Deadpool character is aware he’s a comic book character to concoct a campaign that made fun of the super hero genre and also made repeated attempts to produce content that could go viral. The Deadpool media blitz kicked ass. It was anywhere and everywhere.
My own pet theory is the fact that audiences are still craving a ‘superhero’ style film that’s not too afraid to have a little fun with itself, in comparison to both DC’s ‘EVERYTHING IS GRAY AND DARK’, and Marvel’s own admittedly pretty 'samey' films. The notable exception being a lot of my non-comic booky friends still talk about 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' at times, which was probably the most outside the Marvel style in a while. Also, 'Deadpool' being the first big sf/superhero release since 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' didn’t hurt.
But then again, why it succeeded is incredibly simple. The same reason 'Guardians' succeeded. There was nothing like it before hand. Not to say either film was COMPLETELY original, but when you look at the combined parts... They were different than everything else coming out around it, and everything that had come out (especially superhero wise) before it. Friends who saw the film over the weekend sang its praises unasked.
One thing is clear about this movie/property- Reynolds really, truly, actually loves Deadpool, and somehow got a production team that understands that. The film got made on the weight of fan demand (the leaked test footage didn't hurt) and the persistence of Ryan Reynolds and a very dedicated crew. It got an R rating on the same. This weekend result shows what happens when you actually listen and have people who really love the source material make a film. I love it. Us comic book fans have our own lobbyist in Ryan Reynolds...how awesome is that?
And please, there's a market for R-rated super hero flicks. There has been pre-Deadpool and there will be post-Deadpool. Time that was taken advantage of. provided the source material or the story being told lends itself to an R-rating for content and not just to include gratuitous swearing and graphic violence.
'Moon Knight', 'Lobo', 'Hitman', 'Lady Death', 'Spawn' (a better one), 'Hellblazer', 'Deathstroke', 'Blade', 'Wolverine', 'Swamp Thing', etc...sign me up.
'Batman', 'Superman', 'Avengers', 'X-Men', 'Spider-Man', etc....PG-13 is fine.
The real question is can lightning strike twice. The issue (IMO) with 'Deadpool' as a comic is it gets boring quick. He has great runs, but some writers push to far into the “reddit” humor side of him. While this film was amazing, I worry the second and follow ups might just run thin on a lot of the same stuff over and over. I’m also not excited for all the films trying to “copy” 'Deadpool', similar to the treatment 'Guardians' got. It's going to be hard to take 'Suicide Squad' seriously at PG-13 when we see how good an R-rated superhero movie can be.
I am afraid that Hollywood will learn lessons from Deadpool’s deserved success — but they will inevitably be the wrong lessons.
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