James Gunn explains the lesson Hollywood probably won't learn from Deadpool's success

Contributed by
Feb 17, 2016, 6:52 PM EST (Updated)

As the man who brought Guardians of the Galaxy to life, director James Gunn knows a thing or two about finding success with an outside-the-box superhero flick. So, what does he make of Deadpool’s success?

In the wake of Deadpool’s massive opening, which saw the R-rated flick score $135 million at the U.S. box office, Gunn took to Facebook to dissect the performance from his unique perspective. Gunn started by comparing the success to the buzz surrounding Guardians, as “Hollywood insiders” missed the point about what made the film good. It was creating something that exceeded the sum of its parts, not the buzzword-y parts themselves. 

In regard to Deadpool, Gunn sees more than a few parallels:

“After every movie smashes records people here in Hollywood love to throw out the definitive reasons why the movie was a hit. I saw it happen with Guardians. It ‘wasn't afraid to be fun’ or it ‘was colorful and funny’ etc etc etc. And next thing I know I hear of a hundred film projects being set up "like Guardians," and I start seeing dozens of trailers exactly like the Guardians trailer with a big pop song and a bunch of quips. Ugh.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Deadpool wasn't that. 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.

For the theatrical experience to survive, spectacle films need to expand their definition of what they can be. They need to be unique and true voices of the filmmakers behind them. They can't just be copying what came before them.

So, over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you'll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They'll be green lighting films ‘like Deadpool’ - but, by that, they won't mean ‘good and original’ but ‘a raunchy superhero film’ or ‘it breaks the fourth wall.’ They'll treat you like you're stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn't do.

But hopefully in the midst of all this there will be a studio or two that will take the right lesson from this - like Fox did with Guardians by green-lighting Deadpool - and say - ‘Boy, maybe we can give them something they don't already have.’”

With Deadpool blowing up the box office and no signs of slowing down, it’ll be interesting to see where the risky mid-budget film lands when all is said and done. Gunn is also almost certainly right that this unprecedented success will lead to some unique, risky projects getting a green light in the future (i.e. stuff like Lobo, X-Force, etc.), so that could be a positive thing in the long run.

Of course, the whole perception will certainly flip when one of those films doesn’t light the box office on fire ...

(Via James Gunn)

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