With the House of Mouse deep in negotiations to buy 21st Century Fox, Marvel fans lost their minds. If Disney purchased Fox, that meant the X-Men could appear in the MCU. Yet, fans of the Merc with a Mouth, feared that the normally straight-laced Disney would not like the idea of their foul-mouthed hero being a part of their world of superheroes. This fear reawakened when director David Leitch said Deadpool 3 might be PG-13 whenever it comes out. It seems it all depends on Disney and what they want to do with the most profitable mutant character they have at the moment. The studio recently blamed the box office failure of Dark Phoenix for a third-quarter earnings loss. This is the same fiscal quarter when Avengers: Endgame became the most successful movie of all-time. Still, would Deadpool really work in a PG-13 film?
Why David Leitch Said Deadpool 3 Might Be PG-13
The comments came from an exclusive interview Leitch gave to Yahoo news as part of the promotional tour for the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs and Shaw. His comments make it clear that discussions are currently underway for the foul-mouthed anti-hero. The relationship with the Deadpool creators and Fox was notoriously rocky, until someone leaked the test footage online. Once Fox knew they had a swear-filled, gory hit on their hands the project went on to make history for R-rated movies. Yet, Disney is adamant that their Marvel Cinematic Universe churns out only PG-13 movies. They make more money that way and can open up the merchandising to even younger kids.
As David Leitch explains:
“It’s rated R so that’s not necessarily the brand but doesn’t necessarily need to be R and they don’t necessarily need to only make PG-13 movies…. I think we’ll find a happy ground…. There’s a lot of mystery still surrounding what they want to do with Deadpool in Marvel world but I think, from discussions that I’ve heard, it’s all positive…. I think that they’re just trying to figure a way in as Deadpool’s hard .”
After the earnings loss, especially, Disney and Marvel Studios likely want to give their X-characters a chance to cool off. Long-time series staples like Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine are done with these characters. The new-school X-Men scored big with their first two films, First Class and Days of Future Past. Yet the follow-ups, Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix failed to meet expectations. But Deadpool is a legitimate franchise that is only just heating up. The question then becomes, if Deadpool 3 might be PG-13, should he even cross over into the MCU?
Deadpool By the Numbers
As much as there are storytellers and artists at the heart of these tales, any business that sinks tens or hundreds of millions of dollars into a movie is going to want a return on their investments. In that regard, Deadpool f*cking delivers. Even after the viral sensation caused by the test footage Fox only gave director Tim Miller a budget of $58 million to make the first film. This R-rated masterpiece went on to shock the world earning $783 million at the box office. It out-grossed PG-13 hits like Aquaman, both of the Sony/MCU Spider-Man films, Guardians of the Galaxy, and every other X-Men film. Deadpool 2 earned a bigger budget and, thus, a smaller gross. Still, Deadpool 2 outgrossed the original Iron Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Man of Steel, and every other X-Men film.
The real test of Deadpool’s earning ability came around Christmas time in 2018. Fox re-edited, with a handful of new scenes, Deadpool 2 in order to release a cut that would earn a PG-13 rating. There’re no figures on what the budget for this particular film was, since most of it was existing footage. Also, this film only released to about 1,500 theaters, fewer than half the number that the previous films. It also only stayed in theaters for 44 days, again significantly fewer than the 150+ days of the previous films. And still, Once Upon A Deadpool, earned more than $368 million. Put another way, Deadpool is a cash cow that Disney would be fools to mess with.
Keep Deadpool Out of the MCU (For Now)
With the rest of the X-Men franchise in the cooler (probably for a decade), Deadpool is the only character left standing. So, while Deadpool 3 might be PG-13 or R he definitely should not cross over into the MCU. The humor in the two sets of hero films is much different and, frankly, the crossover to the MCU for Deadpool would just be too meta. Also, due to both the quality of the stories and the earnings, he deserves to stand on his own. Deadpool 3 should continue Wade Wilson’s story and his journey to becoming a hero, without getting bogged down in the MCU of it all. Where Fox had to learn to take a chance on this character, Disney has to learn to take a chance in allowing him to carry his own franchise forward.
What do you think? Are you worried that Deadpool 3 might be PG-13? Do you want to see him in the Marvel Universe? Tell us in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Featured image via Fox…er, Disney. Oh this IS confusing.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.