“Deadpool” broke onto the scene like a kick in the face. Released Feb. 12, “Deadpool” made $132 million in its opening weekend; $152 million if President’s Day is included. This gives “Deadpool” the largest February opening weekend, largest President’s Day weekend opening and largest opening for a R-rated film. It also made more money in its opening weekend than Fox’s last superhero film, “Fantastic Four,” did in its entire run. Not bad for a movie made on a budget of $58 million. In the wake of its success Fox has already announced that the third Wolverine movie is anticipating a R-rating.
“Deadpool” follows the titular “hero” (Ryan Reynolds) as he hacks, slashes and shoots his way to the people who experimented on him and scarred his face. The film perfectly captures the madcap nature of Deadpool’s character, with meta humor.
“Deadpool” breaks away from the more grounded tone that past superhero movies have had in the past decade and decided to embrace the comic book style.
Deadpool is a character who first appeared in Marvel’s X-men comics. As such, he is an X-men character and his film rights belong to Fox. Marvel licensed off the film rights for the X-men before they decided to cut out the middle man and opened their own studio. While Deadpool started off as a villain, he quickly developed an odd sense of humor and became more of an anti-hero. He is a mercenary who was experimented on by the Weapon X Program (they’re the people who put metal on Wolverine’s bones) giving him self-healing abilities. Unfortunately, the experiments also drives him insane.
The fourth wall-breaking started out as Deadpool narrating the recap of the last issue and reading fan letters. His talking to the audience bleeds into his story throughout the film.
While “Deadpool” was by no means the first superhero movie to be rated R, or even the first R-rated superhero movie to make good money, the fact it made so much money so quickly could mean a whole slew of superheroes movies being rated R comedies. This is not unheard of. When “The Dark Knight” became a hit, many movies tried to emulate its grounded realistic tone. When “The Avengers” took off, many other movie studios announced their cinematic universe. Marvel Studios seemed content letting their more mature properties like “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” become Netflix shows, but it would be interesting to see if they will try an R-rated movie.
On the flip side of that, when studios try to copy the success of a popular movie, they often miss the point. That grounded realistic tone didn’t work for “Fantastic Four.” How many other cinematic universes that have been announced have come to fruition?
“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,’” said “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn over Facebook. “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.”