Hindsight is a beautiful thing. A couple of years ago, the idea of a Deadpool movie was nothing more than a pipe dream. In a movie genre that caters to family-friendly fare, a more adult character was always going to raise an eyebrow or two. Then Ryan Reynolds got his hands on the project, some negotiations were made, and the green-light was given. The actor really went to bat for Deadpool and was instrumental in making the movie a reality. A couple of years later, and Deadpool is now one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies if you take into account its opening weekend. And the smashed records are beginning to hit the floor like confetti.
Currently enjoying a comfortable box-office take of $260.2 million, the film is already a raving success, not one week into its release. It’s a far different sight from a few years ago when the film wasn’t given a second thought. The road to success has been a bumpy one for Deadpool, which started with leaked test footage and an uprising of the fans, not to mention Reynold’s dedicated promotion. However, the film still needed to make more changes to ensure a green-light and to see the light of day. Deadpool, or rather director Tim Miller, and his writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, had to cut its budget, to the tune of $7 million, to be exact.
Trimming a budget is a relatively common occurrence in Hollywood. Everyone has a figure in mind, and studios deal with it on a daily basis. The reason Deadpool nearly didn’t happen is a simple one — Miller and company only had 48 hours to trim the $7 million from the budget, which is no easy feat. It was no secret that they would have limited resources compared to other superhero movies, as confirmed by Cinema Blend last year, but it seems they were pegged back a little even after the official amount was announced, an event that didn’t stop them from producing the best script possible.
In an interview with i09, Rhett Reese revealed just how they managed to pull this off and how they had to remove a chunk of the script after six and a half years of development and gradual tinkering.
“We had to carve something like $7-8 million out of the budget in a 48-hour window. We, as a group, just put our heads together, got creative, and said ‘How do we cut what is essentially nine pages out of a 110 page script?'”
In the end, the reduction in the budget was, in their opinion, what brought the movie together.
“It was that last, lean and mean chop that got us to a place where Fox was willing to make it. The script was very efficient and not too long. That was a function of budget more than anything, but I think it really made the movie pace nicely.”
So what changes did they make? Potential spoilers lie ahead for anyone who hasn’t seen Deadpool, so be warned.
The main change was reducing three characters down into one — Garrison Kane, Sluggo, and Wire became Angel Dust, played by Gina Carano. The action was reduced overall, a huge freeway motorcycle chase scene between Deadpool and Ajax was removed, and an elaborate gun fight in the final third was reduced severely. The latter change was ribbed in the film by Deadpool himself when he leaves his guns in a taxi while driving to the fight. After all, no guns, no expensive gunfight. Cue hilarity.
Despite the changes and the budget reduction, Deadpool is well on its way to battering the box office in a number of ways. After nearly seven years in development and with rabid fans finally getting their wish — to see their favorite superhero/antihero on the screen — was the wait worth it? Paul Wernick would step in and have his say.
“It’s been a long, long road pushing that ball up the hill for so many years, and having it roll back down and crush us each and every time. So to see it come to life, in the way it has, has been absolutely thrilling for us.”
I think the fans will agree with him. After many years of trying, Marvel has pulled off the impossible: a successful R-rated superhero movie. Will this be a standard bearer for future projects? Only time will tell, but with a bright future for Deadpool — could he fit into the X-Men universe? — and a baying audience for more mature material, you can expect the R-rated superhero movie to start demanding a bigger presence in cinemas.
Directed by Tim Miller and starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, and Gina Carano, Deadpool is in cinemas now.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]