Why Fox Isn’t Making A Deadpool Movie… And Why They Absolutely ShouldPosted: July 30, 2014
I was going to link to the hi-res Deadpool test footage that got loose, but it’s already been taken down by Fox again. Of course there’s absolutely no sense to taking it down; it does absolutely no harm to their brand and only raises awareness of the concept, which would be beneficial to them in deciding whether to actually greenlight the movie. This is the point that everyone has made already, and it’s true. But this is assuming that Fox really wants to make a Deadpool movie, and I don’t really think that they do. So to answer the myriad fanboys screaming “WHY HAVEN’T THEY MADE THIS?!?!?!?” I will attempt to explain the sadly corporate reasoning behind the lack of Deadpool. And for any Fox people out there reading along (fat chance) I will attempt to argue why Deadpool should indeed be a central project for them going forward. Condescending lectures for everyone, after the jump!
Now as for Fox’s lack of movement on Deadpool, it’s very simple, albeit very infuriating. In this day and age, every studio (particularly those with superhero franchises, but even those without are getting into it*) is trying to build the all-important Shared Universe. For Fox, the quickest path to this is the X-men: that one property has so many different characters and team permutations that the options are almost limitless**. But one character that absolutely is NOT necessary to any long-term X-men plan is Deadpool. His status as a mutant is murky to begin with, and aside from his friendship with Cable and his involvement in Uncanny X-Force he has never been an important part of the X-men at all. Just on this level, there is no pressure on Fox to get his solo movie going, and when you combine that with Ryan Reynolds’ rapidly dwindling star power and the fact that no A-list filmmakers are involved (sorry Tim Miller), and there’s not much reason for them to commit to a movie for a relatively niche character. And let’s be honest folks, Deadpool is very much a character for the committed fans, at least so far; very few non-comics readers are aware of him, and that is a major factor in studio decision-making.
Having said that, Fox should very much consider doing a Deadpool movie, not even as a part of their X-universe, but just as the sort of distinctive, potentially-trend-setting blockbuster that every studio (and fan) craves. The unique vibe of Deadpool is perfectly captured in the sure-to-resurface test footage, which combines the fourth-wall-breaking, the zany wordplay non-sequiturs, and the wild kung-fu action together in a seamless and refreshing package. While I’m sure the Tom Rothman regime was put off by the VERY comic-book-y antics on display in the short, the current cinematic climate has shown to be very accepting of the more bizarre elements of the Marvel and DC universes.
Perhaps the most immediate parallel would be the soon-to-be-released (and terrific, I’m here to tell ya) Guardians of the Galaxy, which brings a level of active humor and occasional vulgarity to bear that you don’t see in many non-comedies… not to mention the talking raccoon and tree. And while Deadpool hardly constitutes what I would consider a “superhero”, I would also say that his presence in the cinematic landscape would be a boon to the Costumed-Action-Adventure genre. It would help provide the sort of flavor that the studios have struggled to add to their blockbuster superhero movies. Indeed, if they don’t tie it into the X-men films then they could feel free to let the outlandish voice of Deadpool ring out loud and clear without undercutting the tone of the Shared Universe.
So yeah, I’m not holding my breath for a Deadpool movie, despite (or because of) the fact that it could be one of the most unique blockbusters in recent memory. But hope isn’t fully lost: if a more established filmmaker with the right sort of voice expressed interest in directing a Deadpool movie, I’m sure Fox would immediately reconsider their apathy (Phil Lord & Chris Miller and Quentin Tarantino come to mind, among others). And if the equally-bizarre Guardians does as well as it deserves to, then it could certainly impact how Fox (and other studios) view the potential flexibility of their superhero franchises. For now, we can all content ourselves with dreams of a fast-talking, hyper-violent, absurdly-inappropriate assassin in our theaters… cuz I don’t think the Merc with a Mouth is going anywhere for a good while.
* Witness Universal’s desire to build an interconnected Movie-Monsterverse, and the rumbling that Legendary will cross over Godzilla with their new Skull Island movies. I’m honestly surprised that Lionsgate/Summit isn’t trying to cross over Hunger Games with Twilight or Divergent…
** Actually, we should give props to Fox for not rushing into anything in regards to a Shared Universe. Simon Kinberg has said that there won’t be a crossover between X-men and Fantastic Four, and aren’t seriously developing many spinoffs. Right now they seem content to just keep going with the main period-set team movies, a remarkable bit of restraint especially in comparison to some of the competition (coughWarnerBrotherscough).