Deadpool has been breaking out all over, thanks to a test reel being leaked and then posted officially on the Internet. And it’s a good introduction to the character… but it also raises the question of, well, will he every actually get his own movie? And that’s a tougher call than you might think.
Might It Already Be In The Works?
Fox actually has an unnamed Marvel movie coming in 2018. And realistically the list of candidates for a Marvel movie out of Fox is pretty short: It owns the X-Men rights and the Fantastic Four rights, so the characters have to come from one of those two movies.
Intriguingly, the elements are all there: Tim Miller, the man behind the Blur Studios clip, is still apparently signed to direct, Ryan Reynolds wants to do it, and the script is completely written. Fox themselves saw fit to put Deadpool, in a limited fashion, into a movie already. The problem, however, has to do with the character himself.
The issue is essentially this: For Deadpool to work, as a movie, it has to be R-rated. It is, after all, a movie about a rambling, heavily-armed psychotic. Add to this Hollywood’s general nervousness surrounding an R-rating: R-rated movies only tend to make money if they’re comedies, and even then, they’re not pulling in the kind of money studios want to see out of a superhero.
Fox, in their view, would still be rolling the dice, especially since R-rated superhero movies haven’t done well historically. And it seems unlikely Miller, Reynolds, or anyone else will budge on this topic.
Beloved By Nerds, But No One Else
Deadpool is consistently a popular character in the comics, but, truthfully, that doesn’t mean all that much to Fox. Until Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel hadn’t made a movie with a character that didn’t have a lot of audience awareness in the first place; the most obscure they got was Thor.
Studios don’t care about nerds, especially not Fox: We groan, we bitch, we whine, and we show up anyway. It’s the wider audience that Fox cares about, and reasonably, they’re not sure a seemingly cult character will attract the crowds. Worse, there’s a pretty decent argument to be had that Deadpool isn’t the draw the Internet makes him out to be: His video game tanked, just as an example.
However, that might be mitigated somewhat by the end of the weekend, as Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be outpacing everyone’s expectations and then some. But it’s a question of how Fox, a notoriously cautious studio, interprets that success. Is it because Marvel marketed the movie well and set expectations, or is it because Marvel has a massive franchise that anything will be successful with?
Remember, the X-Men movies are fairly modest compared to what Marvel is pulling off, although the overall numbers are heading in the right direction. Does that mean they can market Deadpool… or are they worried he’ll push the train off the tracks?
A Question Of Risk
Our best bet is that we’ll see Deadpool in a movie. Fox is developing X-Force and would like a backup team of X-Men for when everybody gets too old to be a credible superhero. But a solo movie seems, for now, a long shot for the Merc with a Mouth.