Matthew Vaughn says that Disney's purchase of Fox's TV and movie assets has yet to impact the Kingsman franchise. While focus has been on how the long-separated Marvel characters such as the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and their tie-ins now can officially be utilized under the MCU, there's far more IPs that are arguably more important that was included in the sale. The historic deal that was 16 months in the making was finalized earlier this year and gives the House of Mouse a massive 40% share over the worldwide box office.
Among those other IPs is the popular R-rated Kingsman film franchise based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbon's comic book series. It debuted via the 2015 sleeper hit Kingsman: The Secret Service directed by Vaughn and co-written by Jane Goldman, which introduced Kingsman operative Colin Firth's Harry, his protege Taron Egerton's Eggsy and overall tech-guy, Mark Strong's Merlin. Due to people's positive reception, it was followed by Kingsman: The Golden Circle expanding the franchise internationally with the arrival of the British organization's American counterparts, the Statesman. Aside from a third film, an untitled prequel entry is also in the works. But with studio changes, many are curious whether or not these upcoming projects have already been impacted by Disney's acquisition of Fox.
In a recent interview, Vaughn told Screen Rant that the Kingsman franchise hasn't been affected yet by the industry-changing buyout. As to whether or not he expects the film series to be toned down to fit with Disney's more family-friendly branding, the filmmaker is optimistic that it's not going to be the case - at least based on his initial conversations with their new studio partner. He even went as far as saying that a Kingsman film will be Disney's first R-rated blockbuster release following their Fox deal.
At the moment it hasn’t. I’ve been making them during the transition, so I don’t know. I’ve started to speak to Disney, and they’ve been incredibly smart and welcoming. I was a little bit concerned, going, “Well, my film’s R rated. Subverting genre filmmaking. Is that really what Disney wants?” But they’ve behaved like gentlemen and are very excited. I think they realize that for that company to grow, they’ve sort of hit saturation with what they’re doing at the moment, they need to go into other circles. I think we’re going to be their first big R-rated release, sort of looking forward to it. I’m learning from them, and the honeymoon so far has been bliss.
Aside from the business implication of the Disney's acquisition of Fox, critics have also been concerned about what this means from a creative standpoint since the House of Mouse caters primarily to the general audience. That means that it has strict guidelines when it comes to the movies they roll out. Fox, on the other hand, has a more diversified portfolio with subsidiaries like Fox Searchlight and the now-defunct Fox 2000 producing niche movies such as 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, The Shape of Water, Love, Simon and The Hate U Give. Usually, these films are creator-driven, and directors are given the opportunity to make the film they want to make with little constrictions.
Known for its well-crafted action set pieces, the two Kingsman films were effective in taking advantage of their R-ratings. Both The Secret Service's and The Golden Circle's brutality played well with the type of movie that Vaughn and his team wanted to do, and without its rawness and gore, it would be deemed as any other spy franchise - something that is already in abundance in Hollywood. In this situation, the franchise actually needs the creative leeway that the R-rating provides to work, like Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. Luckily, based on Vaughn's comments it does sound like Disney understands the importance of diversifying their content if they want to keep people interested.
- Kingsman 3 release date: Nov 08, 2019