Deadpool is once again generating headlines after it set a new record for HD downloads prior to its Blu-ray release. Fox's movie adaptation of the Merc with a Mouth started setting records the moment it hit theaters back in January, and it went on to become the top-selling R-rated movie of all time.
The movie's runaway success has led studios to take another look at releasing their own R-rated movies. While Disney's CEO has said the company has no plans for R-rated Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Warner Bros. is dipping its toes in the water with an R-rated home video release for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not everyone is on board with the idea of Deadpool's R-rating as the reason for its success, though.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige weighed in on Deadpool in a recent interview with Deadline. While he had plenty of praise for the movie, he saw its success not as a result of its rating but rather as a result of its being both unique and true to its source material:
"The thing that Deadpool shows is, when you present something unique to an audience, they will respond to it. When you present something as popular as a superhero character, in a different and unique and crazy way as they did in Deadpool, it demands attention and audiences went to it. They pulled it off. Tim Miller did a tremendous job. The other secret, and why it’s still a secret, I don’t know, but they just took what Deadpool is in the comics. He breaks the fourth wall. He talks into the camera. He doesn’t give a sh*t about any of the other heroes. He doesn’t take anything seriously.
"All of that is what made Deadpool so popular in the comics. Tim and his writers and Ryan Reynolds were able to get that and even magnify that up on the big screen. We’ve always said if there’s any 'secret' it’s respect the source material, understand the source material and then, any adaptation you make from the source material should be done only to enhance whatever the original pure spirit of the source material was. Deadpool hit on all cylinders with that."
While the fans of the various studios' movies frequently battle it out in Internet discussions, those directly involved with the movies seem to be taking a much more magnanimous approach to each other's work. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn had similar praise for Deadpool back in February when he cautioned against studio executives learning the wrong lesson from the movie's huge box office numbers:
"Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks."
At the very least it seems Gunn doesn't have to worry about the higher ups at Marvel learning the wrong lesson about Deadpool, with Feige's comments echoing his own. A focus on originality can only benefit the comic book movie industry, which could suffer diminishing returns if it devolves into a series of cookie cutter movies (as Marvel has sometimes been accused of doing). With Deadpool 2 set to start filming this fall, hopefully it will continue the trend its predecessor started and offer another unique take on the superhero movie.
Deadpool is now available on Digital HD. X-Men: Apocalypse will see theatrical release in the U.S. on May 27th, 2016, followed by Wolverine 3 on March 3rd, 2017, and unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.