If studios needed further proof that R-rated superhero films can be a major success, they needed look no further than Deadpool’s recent outing from Fox. The Merc with a Mouth pulled in more than $700 million at the box office worldwide. Seeking to duplicate their success, it looks like 20th Century Fox will broaden its superhero horizons a little.
In an effort to cultivate not only R-rated superhero flicks but possible shared universes, Fox announced it had attained the rights to BOOM! Studios’ property, Irredeemable.
According to Deadline, the studio plans on making the Marvel/DC competitor BOOM! series into a film. Adam McKay, the director of comedic hits like Anchorman and Step Brothers has been lined up to direct, with Tommy Wirkola (Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) penning the script. McKay is hot off his Ant-Man scripting triumph and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay on The Big Short (with Charles Randolph). The pair of McKay and Wirkola has already worked together on Witch Hunters, so they should be well suited for the superhero picture. Boom! Studios has Ross Richie and Stephen Christy (and Adam Yoelin from the imprint) producing, along with McKay and Kevin Messick.
The Boom! series, which sold more than a million copies, featured illustrations by Peter Krause and was written by Mark Waid – who netted an Eisner Award for the series. The 36-issue story arc debuted in 2009 and ended in 2012. Irredeemable follows The Dark Knight’s paranoid logic in Batman V Superman to its extreme. Earth’s greatest superhero, the Plutonian, goes off the deep end, killing his family and friends, and effectively holding the world under his sway. The world’s remaining lesser superheroes, called the Paradigm, band together to figure out what went wrong and to release the world from the now-supervillain’s stranglehold.
Since stock in R-rated superhero films is on the upsurge, Fox’s move comes as little surprise. Deadpool wasn’t merely the highest-grossing R-rated superhero film, but also the top dog in the broader R-rated film category as well. And with DC deciding to release an adult version of the classic Batman: The Killing Joke, as well as a grittier Batman V Superman cut, they’re not alone. Despite BVS's less–successful-than-desired run at the box office, its overall story proved that audiences are interested in intelligent explorations of the classic superhero tropes.
Fox is also wise to diversify their comic book properties. Although the X-Men and Deadpool have several more films in them, tapping into another popular superhero realm gives them more fuel for the fire. Of course, since the studio only recently acquired the property, it could be some time before McKay and Wirkola will be able to bring this multifaceted Justice League vs. Superman-type story to the screen. No word on whether the film would be a standalone or a potential shared universe yet. But Fox has acquired the rights to several other BOOM! properties, including horror comic The Empty Man. So if there’s a chance for a cinematic multiverse, you can bet it’ll happen.
Screen Rant will keep you up to date on any future Irredeemable developments.