Why the Comic Book Movie Boom Could Make Fox Investors Rich

Soon audiences will get another look at Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, the sequel to 2009's disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine and part of the Marvel's mutant team of X-Men to which 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOX  ) investors own the film rights. Even so, Fox's best comic book movie property might very well be an insane assassin named Deadpool.

Ryan Reynolds played the character in Origins. Activision Blizzard has since teamed with High Moon Studios to create an intense, quip-laden, fourth-wall-breaking title featuring the character Marvel calls its "merc with a mouth."  Gamers give it decent ratings on the Xbox and PS3 -- about 60 out of 100 according to data compiled by the ratings site Metacritic.

But now fans here at Fool.com and elsewhere want to see Deadpool in his own comic book movie, says Fool contributor Tim Beyers in the following video. So does Reynolds. He's said as much in public statements.

So why can't Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) just go make it? Cave in and shoot an R-rated film featuring Deadpool? Because the character first appeared in a comic series called "The New Mutants," and as such, is considered an X-Men property. Fox has the film rights to the entire X-Men family of characters.

Meanwhile, R-rated comic book films suffer from a mixed track record. If Fox isn't yet willing to make a Deadpool film, it may very well be because we don't yet know if the market for violent films based on comic books is anywhere near as robust as it is for excessive video games such as Take-Two Interactive's highly anticipated GTA V, Tim says.

Will Fox profit as much as Disney from the comic book movie boom? Leave a comment to let us know what you've seen this summer and what you expect from future studio releases in the genre.

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  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2013, at 10:40 PM, SeanPorter wrote:

    Only one flaw in your logic about Disney not being able to do the movie. Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch both showed up first in X-men before becoming Avengers and by your train of thought would not be able to be in Avengers 2. So I think if Disney wants to do a Deadpool movie, they can and will because by all rights they still own the character. They don't have to renew Fox's lease of Marvel characters.

  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2013, at 11:52 PM, spinod wrote:

    @above, Fox keeps rights for as long as they keep making movies based on the characters. they could keep making crap movies for decades.

    Also how will Fox be big with this, they only get rights to Xmen. Deadpool has a following, but not that big. Nothing like Spider-Man and the rest of the hero's at least. Plus the movie would need to be done right, and to top things off it'd probably be rated R (unless they do it wrong and make it PG 13) which means audience size is cut in half right there either way.

    Fox is more or less just interested in banking on Wolverine than anything....

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