The Deadpool Effect: How will Studios approach edgier characters in the future?

I was going to write a more spoilery review for Deadpool and talk about the wonderful Easter Eggs strewn throughout the movie, but I decided to take a look as to how the success of The Merc with a Mouth will change how studios approach comic book movies in the future. If you want a rundown of the Easter Eggs, I highly suggest you watch the YouTube video after the jump. Mr. Sunday Movies is one of my favs when it comes to breaking down comic book movies and characters. Oh, and lots of Spoilers for Deadpool if you haven’t seen it yet.

Deadpool has been a passion project for several people including star Ryan Reynolds for many years, so they have had time to get it right once the movie was given the green light. Even though fans have been clamoring for this movie and helped to make it happen after the test footage was leaked a couple of years ago, I don’t think 20th Century Fox had too much faith in the possibility of success. The budget for Deadpool was much lower than every superhero movie that has come out with in the last several years, only $58 million. The first X-Men movie had a $78 million budget, every X-Men movie since has been $100 million or more. The lowest budgeted MCU movie is $130 million (Ant-Man) and all of the Spider-Man movies have had a budget of around $200 million (with the exception of the very first which was $139 million). Fox didn’t want to sink too much money in just in case.

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

But much to Fox’s and every other major studio’s surprise, Deadpool made over $132 million its first weekend (the first Rated-R movie to ever cross $100 million in the first weekend) and is predicted to shatter the $200 million mark this weekend. As a nice little cherry on top, both critics and audiences loved it. They have herald Deadpool as a breath of fresh air in a sea of overly serious comic book movies. Deadpool is not a movie meant to please everyone, which makes its success so much more baffling to executives. Really though, it is just a testament to making something with a lot of love and passion and people will respond in kind.

Of course that big payday just got every major studio with comic book movie rights’ attention and now they are wringing their hands trying to figure out how they can replicate that kind of success. The first movie hoping in line for the Rated-R treatment for right now is the final Wolverine movie.

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The character of Logan/Wolverine in the comics is a much grittier character than the one portrayed in the movies. In X-Men Origins: Wolverine his time as a mercenary is shown briefly and he seemed to not like the work, but in the comics he was a killer for higher for a long time and was very good at his job. And several times either under some kind of mind control, in a fit of rage, or just by pure accident, Logan has killed many innocent people with his claws. James Mangold has recently begun to petition for the final installment of Wolverine to be a Rated-R movie to keep more in line with the character in the comics and possibly follow The Death of Wolverine storyline a little closer than a PG-13 rating will allow.

Another movie rumored to possibly make a run at an R rating is the upcoming Suicide Squad. I don’t know how likely this is, but it does seem to make the most sense. Suicide Squad is definitely going for a edgier vibe than the other Warner Brothers/DC movies coming down the pike and features characters that would play out better in a more adult like setting. This move may also appease those who are still not sold on the newest version of The Joker. Allowing him to be more of a sadistic villain than a PG-13 rating could afford might be the way to win out fans. I’m sure there are a few scenes on the cutting room floor that were too intense for a younger rating that is being looked at again with the idea of a more adult rating.

Image Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Image Courtesy of Warner Brothers

One of the biggest questions is will the mega Marvel Cinematic Universe add an Rated R movie to their Phase 3 line up?

I’m thinking no, or more like not in the near future. The MCU has Netflix for the characters that are a little to adult for the big screen. Shows such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the rest of The Defenders line up to be released have been able to push the boundaries without fully crossing over into Rated R territory and satisfying fans who want more than just the PG-13 hero.

Marvel Entertainment and Disney have made a mint off of the perception of their movies are big family events catered to satisfy as many people as possible. Releasing a Rated R movie means excluding a large portion of the ticket buying population. Given Marvel and Disney rely on heavy toy marketing to help get kids and their parents in the theaters (and tack on to the profit margin), they are not going to release a movie where the toys cannot dominate the kid’s aisles at retailers.

Image Courtesy of simplybudgeted.com

Image Courtesy of simplybudgeted.com

Sony Entertainment may by the biggest studio to cash in on the success of a Rated R superhero movie considering the absolute failure of the Spider-Man franchise at their hands. A low budget superhero movie with a big cult following might be just what they need to reestablish themselves as a superhero movie powerhouse. They do own the rights to Bloodshot (who could be an answer to Wolverine when that franchise ends). Sony executives could also take a page out of Fox’s book and try again with Venom by having the character exist in the same universe as Spider-Man, but reboot the character with the hope we forget the disastrous Spider-Man 3.

How do you think studios are going to respond to the success of Deadpool? Do you think Suicide Squad and the final Wolverine movie will be Rated R? What other grittier characters do you think the studios can bring out and give an adult rating to? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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