Is The Deadpool Movie Bound To Be A Hit Or An Internet-Driven Bust?

Kevin Bostic

Congratulations, Internets! Your devotion to Deadpool has shown the studio execs what's what, making sure that the Merc with a Mouth will indeed hit the big screen in 2016. Now, there's just the question of whether or not internet support can make the Deadpool movie a hit, as well as whether or not it will even be good in the first place.

As Inquisitr reported yesterday, Fox delighted fanboys and fangirls across the internet with the news that it would making Deadpool into a full, feature-length film. The new Deadpool feature is set for release in February of 2016, and Ryan Reynolds is expected to reprise the role that he first played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Deadpool's portrayal in that movie wasn't the worst thing about X-Men Origins – it is, in fact, hard to name a "worst thing" about such an atrocious film – but the changes Fox made to the fan-favorite character didn't bring about too much in the way of confidence in what a Deadpool feature would look like.

With X-Men Origins being panned so widely, the notion of a Deadpool movie spinning out of that steaming pile was unlikely. So the Deadpool flick languished until test footage emerged earlier this year. That footage showed Deadpool as fans had always wanted to see him: violent, acrobatic, and endlessly chatty.

The reception was tremendous, with the Deadpool test footage garnering more than a million views. Dozens of other reaction videos have also gotten thousands of hits, so it seems like there's a significant base of people interested in checking out a Deadpool movie.

Two problems, though. The first involves Deadpool and the X-Men franchise. The second involves Snakes on a Plane.

As aforesaid, Deadpool's appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was atrocious. Fox gutted everything good about the character in service of... well, nobody really knows. The movie took the wise-cracking Deadpool and sewed his mouth shut, giving him adamantium forearm blades and optic blasts a la Cyclops. The only similarity to the Deadpool comic fans had come to know and love was in the dark coloration around his eyes... and the name.

Sure, the Deadpool test footage looks terrific. Pitch perfect, even. Let's not forget, though, that the movie will be at the mercy of the same studio that made X-Men Origins and X-Men: The Last Stand. Sure, First Class and Days of Future Past appear to demonstrate that Fox has turned over a new leaf, but even those two were iffy in some points. There's no guarantee that the Deadpool that makes it to the screen in 2016 will be of the same quality as the Deadpool we've seen in the test footage.

And for those of you holding out hope that Ryan Reynolds' has the star power and devotion to the project to ensure that Deadpool remains quality, two words: Green Lantern.

The second Deadpool drawback is the Internet Echo Chamber. Remember Snakes on a Plane? That 2006 laugher was virtually a dead project until the Internets got hold of the plot synopsis and breathed life into it. Suddenly, the Internet had demands. Samuel Jackson must say this. The title must remain just so. On and on. And the studio acquiesced, certain that the huge buzz on the web would mean a massive opening week and a surprising overall box office for the snake schlockfest. It had The NSFW Line, how could it fail?

No dice, though. Despite the Internet's certainty that Snakes on a Plane was going to be the most awesome thing to ever awesome, it pulled in a meager $15 million in its first weekend. It went on to gross $62 million, nearly doubling its budget, but studio execs deemed it a dud and a disappointment.

The same could happen with Deadpool. While the Deadpool test footage has gotten lots of views and rave reviews, there's no guarantee that we're not seeing the same sort of Internet Echo Chamber effect that had message boards across the web sure that Snakes on a Plane was going to top $100 million. In fact, it's likely that we're seeing the same thing, as Deadpool is really a super-niche character. He's huge in the comic world, and Marvel hasn't met a Deadpool variant cover it didn't love. Ask someone in the real world who Deadpool is, though, and you'll get a blank stare.

Fox even seems aware of this, as the studio has slated Deadpool for a February 2016 opening. You know what studios do with movies they think will do well? They release them in the summer, or at least at some point other than the dead of winter.

So, again: Congratulations, Internets! Your devotion to the Merc with a Mouth has ensured that we'll see a Deadpool movie within the next year and a half. Now there are only the weighty tasks of making sure that 1- it doesn't suck and 2- it doesn't flop.