The minds behind Deadpool knew a movie about the Merc with a Mouth would be a stretch from the beginning. Luckily, telling convention to “fuck off” is something he’s got a lot of practice with.
Deadpool’s co-writer Rhett Reese said that after the script sat in the dark for six years, it took producer Simon Kinberg heading over to Fox and saying, “Let’s do something Marvel and Disney can’t do” to get it made.
“It really feels like an apple among oranges with big studio movies,” Reese said. “I think that contributed to its success.”
It certainly is different — Disney couldn’t pull a quarter of the shit in its Marvel Cinematic Universe that Fox did with Deadpool, even if it wanted to. Imagine Tony Stark outright swearing or an onscreen sex sequence between two characters. It’s the kind of R-rated, so-not-Disney content that Cap and the gang will never be a part of.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox, the owner of Deadpool and the X-Men’s cinematic visages, is raking in the cash on a new kind of superhero movie, first with Deadpool and, soon, with the upcoming Logan.
Fans and critics alike have long considered how anyone was going to compete with the MCU — it spans generations, is safe for kids, and, since 2009, has had Disney money (and lawyers) backing every move. It turns out the long-awaited answer to Fox’s problem is to crank up the violence and throw in some well-timed sex jokes. Bada bing, bada boom: Deadpool makes $750 million at the global box office and Logan is already a critical hit before its March 3 premiere date.
Of course, the surprise success of Deadpool doesn’t stack up to, say, Captain America: Civil War, which was the top-grossing film of 2016 with $1.13 billion worldwide. But there’s something to be said for breaking down a genre’s boundaries and trying something completely radical that everyone else turned their nose up at — and if there’s one thing Deadpool is good at, it’s taking a risk.