It's Friday 12th February, and I got back from seeing the movie Deadpool late last night. It’s been out less than a week and a sequel has been announced already because of the hugely positive reactions that it has been receiving.
As I said in my previous article, Deadpool is a movie which is an important case in Hollywood’s output because of their direct submission to the clamour of vocal fans.
Indeed, it’s often called “fan service,” and it’s a term that we’re hearing a lot recently, but what different types are there?
Essentially, it’s anything that caters to the fans.
Commonly this is sexy stuff, like Daniel Craig walking out of the sea in Casino Royale (2006) as seen above or Halle Berry going topless in Swordfish (2001); these movies don’t have to feature these scenes, but they are put there as a reward to sustain our interests (you naughty kids, you).
But for movie buffs, it is often in hidden or overt details in the film, such as inter textual references to other works.
An example of this would be in the action comedy Hot Fuzz (2006) where a frustrated Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) shoots his as gun into the air rather than at someone he loves.
This is an obvious reference to the film Point Break (1991) in which Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) does something similar; these references show that the film makers are aware of these other movies, and they act as mini rewards for fans of these films if they have this awareness as well.
The internet is where a great deal of these parts of films are noticed and discussed.
Film magazines and organisations have moved online, and there are countless comment boards filled with analysis of them. As we know, it’s not just films, but comic books, music, novels, wrestling, the list goes on.
The internet has become a series of hubs for people to obsess over their enthusiasms and bar the vitriolic comments and trolls, this can only be a good thing.
An example of this is hype and pleasurable analysis has been in the marketing for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Arguably, this has been one of the best marketing campaigns ever for a film.
There was direct engagement with the nostalgic viewers by focusing on familiar sights and sounds, through the use of old soundtrack themes and images of the beloved Millennium Falcon in action once again.
It also offered something new to those who were less familiar with Star Wars, through the thrilling sights of cool new sights and characters who were reflective of a less white-patriarchal world, and a more diverse,(mostly) accepting and tolerant society.
Until the movie’s opening was imminent it was a minimalist campaign, focusing on recurring images rather than offering lots of new footage, catering to many people’s hatred of spoilers.
Whilst there was still so much to be discussed online, the campaign for The Force Awakens seems to have taken onboard the online criticism of film marketing.
The fact that relatively little was spoiled or given away for such a major release is evidence in itself; other films such as Terminator: Genisys gave huge plot points away in the trailer, which was derided across Facebook and YouTube.
This use of the internet as a form of feedback to writers and filmmakers doesn’t stop here however; weeks after a particular episode of Game of Thrones aired, which featured the harrowing rape of a female character, the writers directly addressed the online criticism in an interview, with full awareness that people had been upset by the issue.
It doesn’t stop there; in a similar way to the situation with Deadpool, fans of Iron Man Three (2013) took to the forums to openly mock and deride their depiction of the supervillain The Mandarin.
His origins, identity, mannerisms and eventual fate had been changed to suit the storyline and cause the least amount of offence (in earlier comics, the Mandarin is a somewhat stereotypical Chinese caricature).
Marvel Studios openly backtracked on their adaptation, and released a direct -to-video film entitled All Hail The King a year later, which altered the end of Iron Man Three to give the Mandarin a less concrete standing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and allows him to return or be reinvented further down the line.
It’s increasingly apparent that we are living in an age where it is a good time to be part of fandoms; the internet is being used more and more as a dip testing by studios in order to cater to fans and maximise profits.
This isn’t to say that fans should be able to have input into every aspect of an adaptation; as everyone knows, different people have different opinions so the chances of pleasing everyone is nigh impossible.
Plus opinions change. Fans are fickle, and some can overreact to the slightest of things; to see this in action, simply scan through comments on any trailer for a big superhero release.
Chances are that you will see someone’s comments change from “OMG BEST MOVIE EVER!” to “THEY’VE ABSOLUTELY RUINED IT! F*CK THIS SH*T MOVIE!” in the space of a week.
Ultimately a lot of the marketing for a movie is not an indication of the final product, and for filmmakers to edit their work based on these reactions could be potentially detrimental to the finished movie.
And in adaptations and the movie making business as a whole, there is always that element of offering something new and exciting to draw the crowds in. In the words of Steve Jobs, sometimes moviegoers “don't know what they want until we've shown them…"
Studios using the internet should for the most part mean better things for fans.
If Hollywood does continue its listening to the viewer’s voice, we should expect adaptations that adhere closer to the stories we love, new films which tell the kind of tales that we would like to hear and marketing which speaks more to our interests.
However, I draw the line at movies about the Kardashians. Please God… that’s something the world can do without.