Marvel Movies Are Huge, So Why Won't a Deadpool Movie Get Made?

When it comes to the X-Men films, the “merc with a mouth” isn’t fit for the franchise.

Aug 31, 2014 at 10:37AM

Marvel Movies Deadpool Movie Sdcc Test Footage

Ryan Reynolds in a test reel for a Deadpool movie. Sources: Google+ via Craig Kandiko. Twenty-First Century Fox owns the movie rights to Deadpool.

Forget about how big Marvel movies are right now. The X-Men may keep Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOXA) from making a Deadpool movie. Call it the downside of Hollywood's franchise era.

Unmuzzling the "merc with a mouth"

Ever since Ryan Reynolds played the pre-scarred Wade Wilson -- later to be known as "Deadpool" -- in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there's been talk of a Deadpool movie. The buzz turned into a roar during last month's San Diego Comic-Con, when Blur Studio released one minute and 48 seconds of a long-discussed, eight-minute test reel. 

There's no way to know if more than 50,000 fans would actually buy a ticket to see a Deadpool movie in the theater. But what if they did? And what if they told their friends to see the movie? Again, we can't know for sure if that would happen, but we have seen a surge in search interest for the term "deadpool movie," which no doubt speaks to the buzz the test footage has generated.

A franchise unto himself

Yet, Reynolds' on-screen antics aren't the only reason there's demand for a Deadpool movie. Fans genuinely love the character, as the July comics sales charts show. All eight of his issues made the top 100 -- no easy feat:

Title

Rank

Est. Copies Sold to Retailers
Est. Gross Sales

Deadpool vs. X-Force #1

33

54,762

$218,500.38

Deadpool #31

39

49,930

$199,220.70

Deadpool #32

49

46,829

$186,847.71

Deadpool vs. X-Force #2

52

45,047

$179,737.53

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet #1

61

40,790

$162,572.10

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet #2

72

38,683

$154,345,17

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet #3

76

37,449

$149,421.51

Deadpool: Dracula's Gauntlet #4

82

36,581

$145,958.19

Source: Diamond Comics Distributors via The Comics Chronicles.

In Deadpool vs. the X-Men, the X-Men win

No matter how good these numbers might look, they pale compared to the franchise potential of X-Men, which has spawned seven movies over 14 years, resulting in $3.05 billion in grosses as of this writing, Box Office Mojo reports. The latest in the series -- X-Men: Days of Future Past -- is currently the summer's top comic book adaptation, at $744 million worldwide. Fox has a huge financial incentive to expand this universe.

Deadpool wouldn't get the job done. Why? Deadpool isn't for children. He's a foul-mouthed, ultra-violent psychopath who wouldn't work well in a mainstream X-film. Smoothing the edges just to include him in the franchise could make for an awful movie, and terrible box office losses.

Then again, staying true to a violent character is no guarantee of success either. Lions Gate Entertainment's (NYSE:LGF) R-rated take on the vigilante known as The Punisher did poorly enough that the studio returned the film rights to Marvel. How the studio plans to handle him in future films is unknown at this point.

The illusion of independence

In comics, the major publishers have distinct imprints for its more adult-oriented properties. Marvel's Icon imprint published the Kick-Ass comics that subsequently became movies. DC's Vertigo line may be best known for Sandman, Neil Gaiman's award-winning series.

Most movie studios have similar imprints. At Fox, independent and horror films are released under the Fox Searchlight banner. Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave may be the most famous film to be distributed by the mini-studio.

Adding a Deadpool movie to the Fox Searchlight lineup wouldn't be too difficult, but it would also be as materially distinct from the remaining X-franchise as TheCW's Arrow is from Man of Steel, even though both are based on DC Comics properties. Franchising requires the cross-promotion that leads to lucrative licensing and merchandising deals.

Foolish takeaway

Personally, I'm holding out hope for a Deadpool movie. But the economic power of franchising is such that I expect Fox to keep this property as far away from the X-Men based films as it can.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google (A and C class), and Netflix at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A and C shares), Lions Gate Entertainment, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A and C class), and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers