James Gunn Thinks Studios Will Learn the Wrong Lessons From ‘Deadpool’
Deadpool defied early predictions for a $65 million opening weekend and broke records with its $135 million box office take, validating Fox’s decision to green light a sequel before the film even properly hit theaters. The R-rated, hyper-violent, hyper-profane superhero flick is a hit, to say the least, and there’s a lesson to be learned from Fox taking a gamble on such a risky blockbuster — but Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, like many of us, fears that studios might wind up taking the wrong lesson from Deadpool’s success.
In an article over at Deadline, an unnamed Hollywood insider expressed their surprise at Deadpool’s success, and put forth the misguided idea that the film was a hit because it did something that no Marvel movie has ever done:
The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.
… Except Marvel has done this. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the reasons Deadpool was able to get made (along with the similarly R-rated action comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service, which also had a February release). James Gunn’s film had a self-aware bent, but even that film wasn’t the first time that Marvel had taken a risk or allowed for one of its films to embrace humor and subvert the superhero norm.
As Gunn points out in this great Facebook post (which contains some strong language), that Deadline quote is not only wrong-headed, but it’s exactly the type of misguided thinking that signifies that Hollywood is going to take the wrong lessons from Deadpool. Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ risky film didn’t succeed because of its irreverent jokes — it succeeded because it was different:
Gunn is, obviously, right. Every time a movie shatters expectations and becomes an “unexpected” hit at the box office, studios only seem to look at the shallow, surface aspects of the film. In this case, it’s the idea that Deadpool succeeds because it’s a superhero movie that makes fun of superhero movies, but that’s not entirely true — and it’s already been done, so it’s not shocking.
Here’s hoping that at least a few studio executives will learn the right lesson from Deadpool and take more risks instead of using it as a blueprint to give us a bunch of generic reproductions.