With the announcement that Twentieth Century Fox was finally going to go forward with a Deadpool movie, comic book fans were as happy as can be with the news. Deadpool has been a fan-favorite since the mutant assassin was introduced in 1991. While Fox almost ruined Deadpool completely in the infamous X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, recent "leaked" test footage of the Merc with a mouth gave Deadpool new life. And now that fans are getting what they want with a new movie in 2016, could the new Deadpool movie be everything that we've wanted and still fail?
Let's get this out there, I'm a big fan of Deadpool and the test footage that leaked after San Diego Comic-Con. Even if the movie is PG-13, I think there could be a way to satisfy comic book fans and general audiences alike. That said, I would prefer it if the movie were rated R, but that's not going to make or break the movie. The people behind the film have very good track records like Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, who wrote Zombieland, first-time director Tim Miller, who worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and its producers, namely Lauren Shuler Donner, who is just coming off of the success of X-Men: Days of Future Past. With Ryan Reynolds rumored to reprise his role as Wade Winston Wilson, there's no doubt in my mind that the new Deadpool movie will be a success... artistically. The basis for this article is not on the merits of Deadpool as a character or story, but rather if general audiences will respond to it and its box office hopes.
Now the movies mention in the title above - Dredd and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - are great movies! Scott Pilgrim was one of my favorite movies of 2010. I watched the film four times in theaters (I was at the world premiere at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010) and I think it's one of the most innovative comic book movies ever made. I love Edgar Wright and Scott Pilgrim!! I'm also a big fan of Dredd! I think the reboot is a marked improvement from the 1995 original with Sylvester Stallone and the model of a very good comic book genre movie. While both of these movies are based on cult comic book characters, they're also notorious box office bombs.
For some reason, general audiences couldn't connect with Scott Pilgrim or Dredd. They didn't find success until they were released on home video, but while they were in theaters, both movies performed terribly. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World opened with a $10 million box office against a $60 million production budget, while Dredd opened to $6 million against a $50 million production budget. Now that's just bad. Again these numbers don't reflect the actual quality of the films, but it's worth considering why they didn't connect with general audiences.
Now we don't know what the production budget of Deadpool would be, but let's say on average, it's going to be at least $80 million, considering its studio and leads. Deadpool has to open to at least $50 million to be considered successful, if that budget is correct. Deadpool doesn't have the same name recognition as Iron Man or Captain America and general audiences don't know Deadpool's affiliation with the X-Men. To most people, he's that guy with no mouth and blades for arms at the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Fox doesn't have that same kind of brand recognition as Marvel when it comes to launching new properties and Deadpool would be considered a new franchise, unless Wolverine manages to make a cameo in the movie to connect the character to the larger world of the X-Men. Now there are rumors that the official title of the movie would be X-Men Origins: Deadpool, which would be a huge strike against the movie, considering that the last X-Men Origins movie was a commercial and critical failure. While fans are hungry for a Deadpool movie, they were also hungry for a Scott Pilgrim and Dredd movie too.
For Deadpool to be a big box office hit, Fox has to generate a brilliant marketing campaign to get people in theaters. The new movie will be released in February 2016 and the winter month has proven that movies can find success, IE The Lego Movie. Fox will also be releasing two superhero movies in 2016, along with Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse, so it's unclear if the two films will be connected in any way, or if Deadpool will be its own thing.
Over the years, Ryan Reynolds proved that he cannot lead big movies with the box office failures of Green Lantern, Turbo, and R.I.P.D., so it's very unclear if that streak would end with Deadpool. Maybe PG-13 is a smart move for the movie. Fox most likely sees the rating as the best case scenario for the movie to find success and kick start a new franchise. I mean, isn't that what we all want? More Deadpool on the big screen?
What do you think? Will Deadpool be a box office bomb?