A movie that makes (currently) $490 million worldwide is a clear success no matter what it is. This is where we stand with Deadpool, and with it has come a whirlwind of news about Hollywood Studios ready to crank out a slew of films with R-ratings. So consider this, my letter to you Hollywood.
I understand that Deadpool is a success. I understand that FOX cut its budget and it still managed to be a success. What I don’t understand is why your job is to make movies and films, yet you fail at your job in understanding why some films succeed and others fail. The success of Deadpool is not because it was rated R and now tells you “fans want rated R comic book based movies, let’s give it to them.”
No, Hollywood, that’s just not what fans want. Just like fans didn’t want all movies to be the brooding Christopher Nolan Batman franchise (which WB still hasn’t figured out), fans are not clamoring for more rated R films. Think about it, Guardians of the Galaxy shattered the box office…and it was not rated R. Ant-Man was considered to be Marvel Studios first, big fail, and it wasn’t. So why is it that fans loved those films just as much or more than Deadpool if “what they want is rated R”. Plain and simple; it is because fans don’t care as much about rating as they care about authenticity.
Deadpool worked because the actor, writers, and director dedicated themselves to first love the character in his original form and then decide to make a movie that stayed true to the character. It had nothing to do with the rating and everything to do with the authenticity of the character. Now, FOX is mulling over an R rated Wolverine 3 film, and all though violence wise Wolverine fits the bill for an R rated film, a cinematic character that you have established for sixteen years as PG-13 doesn’t make sense to all of sudden break that mold and be rated R. You either have to go the full reboot, or give something that is not authentic (of course personally nothing of Wolverine has ever been authentic to begin with).
There are talks about making a R-rated Fantastic Four film, another example of not understanding the source material. The reason fans hate X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t because they sewed Deadpool’s mouth shut, that’s just part of it. Everything about that film was the opposite of who Wolverine really is. Green Lantern failed because the movie never took the character seriously. Watchmen failed because the movie was not marketed correctly. You sold it as something else, so those who had no clue who the Watchmen were got a completely different experience at the theatre than what was marketed to them. It had nothing to do with the fact that it was rated R and everything to do with how the studio didn’t really care enough to make it work.
Hollywood, when you go up and down the list of comic book adapted films to determine its success, take a look at what was successful and what wasn’t and ask yourself why? At the heart of each failure, is a studio that decided that their version of the hero was better suited than the original version. And it’s not just with comic books: look at The Last Air Bender as a perfect example of a beloved established franchise that a studio and director decided needed to be remade into their own version instead of what made it successful to begin with. Meanwhile, those who have succeeded have come to the realization that fans love authenticity. Stay as true to the character as possible, and fans will eat it up. It is why Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and yes even Deadpool have broken the mold in their respective times. It is why fans went three or four times to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as compared to any of the prequels. When you stay authentic and as true to what made fans fall in love with a character or a franchise to begin with, fans will back it up.
So, Hollywood, my plea to you is to take the idea of MPAA rating out of your head. Go back to the drawing board. Get actors, writers, directors, producers to find a passion for the original characters. Fans aren’t looking for MPAA ratings, they are looking to add to their passion that they already have for the characters.
A concerned fanboy