Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool is tearing up the box office with more than $135 million earned over the weekend, breaking February records. The R-rated anti-hero romp is turning the superhero genre on its ear, so what does it portend? Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn thinks Hollywood just might learn the wrong lesson based on one studio executive’s comment.
A Deadline report attempting to explain Deadpool‘s shocking success quotes one anonymous Fox studio executive
“The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.”
An incensed Gunn took to Facebook to state the quote had to have been said by “the dumbest f****** Hollywood exec in the history of dumb f****** Hollywood execs.” He went on to explain how this was an attempt to rewrite history and used Iron Man and Ant-Man, in addition to Guardians of the Galaxy, as examples of Marvel willing to poke fun at both itself and the superhero genre.
For those who don’t know, Fox has the movie rights to Marvel properties such as X-Men and Fantastic Four. That puts the two studios in a weird sort of competition with one another as well as calls from fans to bring the latter back to Marvel following two disappointing movies and a dreadful reboot attempt. Even the X-Men films had a dreadful run from X-Men 3 to both Wolverine movies until X-Men: First Class revitalized the franchise.
As it stands, Deadpool‘s success can be attributed to the unlikely combination of staying true to the spirit of the source material while putting an actor in the role who can absolutely nail the performance. A marketing push that depended greatly on test footage going viral while Reynolds promoted Deadpool in everything from testicular cancer awareness shorts to lounging on a bear rug in front of a fireplace.
The uniqueness of the character and the promotion ability, but Gunn is worried that Hollywood will attempt to copy its success by churning out the clones of Deadpool‘s film and marketing formula. He says he’s already seen the same with dozens of trailers similar to Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Deadpool wasn’t that. Deadpool was its own thing,” Gunn declared. “THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s d**n good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.”
“So, over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you’ll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They’ll be green lighting films ‘like Deadpool‘ – but, by that, they won’t mean ‘good and original’ but ‘a raunchy superhero film’ or ‘it breaks the fourth wall.’ They’ll treat you like you’re stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn’t do.”
Gunn hasn’t completely given up hope, though. Even in a Hollywood that is full of sequels, remakes, and clones, he sees the possibility of some filmmakers coming up with something unique.
“But hopefully in the midst of all this there will be a studio or two that will take the right lesson from this – like Fox did with Guardians by green-lighting Deadpool – and say – ‘Boy, maybe we can give them something they don’t already have.'”
“And that’s who is going to succeed,” Gunn concluded.
Naturally, the overwhelming success of Deadpool means a sequel is going to happen. Fox is now open to making other R-rated films in the X-Men universe. Producer Simon Kinberg gave X-Force a possible choice for a not-for-kids superhero flick in an interview with Collider.
[Image via 20th Century Fox]