The Ignorance of the Hollywood Studios

Oh wow, Deadpool made a whole bunch of money! It’s time we made our “Own Deadpool!”

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 6.17.35 PM, the statistician in me loves you.

Fuck you, no it’s not.

I’m inspired to write this post based on Director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Super) and his recent comments on his own Facebook page. I’ll post them here for you.

“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.”
That’s a quote from Deadline Hollywood, attributing it to a Hollywood “suit.” I love Deadline and get a lot of my film business news from them. And I love Deadpool even more – the film is hilariously funny, has lots of heart, and is exactly what we need right now, taking true risks in spectacle film – but COME THE FUCK ON. That’s no reason to rewrite history. This quote has to have been said by the dumbest fucking Hollywood exec in the history of dumb fucking Hollywood execs.
Let’s ignore Guardians for a moment, a movie that survives from moment to moment building itself up and cutting itself down – God knows I’m biased about that one. But what do you think Favreau and Downey did in Iron Man? What the fuck was Ant-Man??!
Come on, Deadline.
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.”
And that’s who is going to succeed.
Have a great day.

He’s right. Hollywood has always been reactionary to the success of other films instead of taking the right notes from said hits and carving their own niche.

Hollywood is so afraid to make any original movies these days because of inflated budgets. And it’s only in the small budget markets that any originality thrives.

Maybe Hollywood should spend more time in the once forgotten middle tier budget range ($20-60 mil) and make more films that have the originality or voice behind them, instead of a “me-too” R-rated, fourth-wall breaking action movie.

Just think about this for a second: Deadpool had to fight tooth and nail for close to a decade to be made. Fox (who owns the rights to the character) hesitated until the filmmakers got together and made a short film (a scene of the original) and “leaked” it to prove to the studio that there was a desire for this type of film.

The only bits of feedback that Hollywood should take from this is three-fold:

  1. Don’t be afraid to take creative risks
  2. Never take a devoted audience for granted
  3. And for Fox in particular? Make the next Wolverine an R-Rated flick.

Okay, that last one might be a tad contradictory and selfish, but dammit Hugh’s almost done! Make his last film a bloody one!

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

Have YOU seen Deadpool? It made over $280 million dollars worldwide over just FOUR DAYS. Crazy, right? Here my thoughts (and Deadpool’s himself) on it HERE.


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