Yesterday, hot on the heels of Wolverine‘s $85 million debut, The Hollywood Reporter broke news that Fox has begun development on a Deadpool spinoff:
[Ryan] Reynolds is attached to reprise the character for what for now is simply being called “Deadpool.” Lauren Shuler Donner and Marvel Studios would act as producers.
Deadpool is known as “the merc with a mouth,” a character that under Reynolds lived up to his billing in “Wolverine” until the end, when the movie deviated from the comic book persona, imbuing him with several superpowers and sewing his mouth shut.
It is understood that Reynolds would regain the ability to mouth off, with the movie going back to the roots of the character known for his slapstick tone and propensity to break the fourth wall. The character also was disfigured in “Wolverine,” though it’s unclear at this time how much the studio would want to mess with Reynolds’ handsome mug.
The project is out to writers.
I think this decision may have been a bit of a premature decision by Fox. Has Wolverine‘s performance really been great enough to justify the sequel? The $85 million opening is certainly a good figure, but it’s 2009, and that means that a movie like Wolverine is going to be extremely frontloaded. Word-of-mouth certainly won’t be great, and there’s a slew of competition (Terminator Salvation, Angels And Demons, Star Trek, Up) coming up for the rest of May. At this point, a $180 million finish seems rather likely, but we’ll have to wait and see how Wolverine holds against Star Trek this weekend before any final judgments are made.
Here’s the thing, though. Fox spent $150 million to produce X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Then they had the prints and advertising costs. Then they had twelve days of reshoots. At the very least, Fox has already shelled out $225 million on this one, and unless Wolverine turns out to be inexplicably leggy, Fox will have to rely on international grosses and DVD sales to see any profit. And this is Wolverine, a well-liked, notable character, we’re talking about here. Deadpool is a totally different ball game. Most people don’t know who Deadpool even is, and I doubt a Deadpool movie is going to be able to transcend the total gross of Wolverine. I would also point out that Ryan Reynolds is not a proven box office draw, but neither is Hugh Jackman, outside of the X-Men universe.
The biggest advice I can give Fox is to make sure the script is good! People will get on board for a quality movie (see last year’s Iron Man), even if they don’t know much about the character. The second most important advice I can give Fox is to spend less money! If the script is good, and you shoot efficiently, I think you can get this whole project off the ground for $150 million. Then, you could launch a new franchise character, gain some sweet profit, and everyone would be happy! Would you see a Deadpool film? Me? I’d be more excited for Gambit!
UPDATE: Reed and I wrote about the same thing at the same time! Read his take on Deadpool!