Even though it concluded with a small of the usual CGI ****athon that pops up in any comic book movie these days, Deadpool was very much a small scale movie. And that’s a good thing. A smaller (and slashed!) budget resulted in the crew behind one of the best movies of 2016 getting creative with their story, adding more character and humour to the project. Which also equalled BIG box office gains.
And now Deadpool 2 is back on track. Ryan Reynolds returns, donning a jolly red suit and the facial make-up of a man who looks the bastard child of a KFC Dunked Zinger Wing meal with a new director in tow. That director being one half of the duo behind John Wick, David Leitch, who’ll be bringing his expertise to the set. One thing that won’t be coming with him however? The usual Hollywood mindset to make a sequel bigger than the first film.
So sayeth producer Simon Kinberg, who spoke to EW about Deadpool 2 keeping a similar scale of size to the first film:
The goal for us when we sat down and started talking about it was it needs to be as provocative and startling as the first film which means it can’t just be a continuation of the first film. It has tonally and stylistically be as fresh and original. That’s a big challenge especially because they had 10 years to gestate on the first movie and we don’t have that kind of time on the second movie. That’s the biggest mandate going into on the second film: to not make it bigger.
We have to resist the temptation to make it bigger in scale and scope, which is normally what you do when you have a surprise hit movie. But actually stay true to the tenets of it’s the tone and the style and the humour that make it so special — it’s not the explosions and the special effects.
You don’t often hear movie studios take such a tone with sequels. Or ever. The budget for Deadpool was modest by Hollywood standards, a mere $58 million that was used to maximum effort to focus more Reynold’s character and steering that flick into R-rated territory. 20th Century Fox didn’t want to risk too much cash on a project that they initially had zero faith in, as the crew had to get as much bang for their buck as possible.
But it worked! With a global haul of over $782 million, that move worked out. It’s also most likely another reason why original film director Tim Miller exited the sequel, as his vision for another Deadpool movie most likely made frequent use of even more big screen imagery than a small budget would allow for. But as Reynolds said in the same interview, the hiring of Leitch is proof that a solid action film can be made on a tight budget. Especially after John Wick:
Everybody was just a fan of his work. He’s just a guy who’s so muscular with his action. He also really understands those Deadpool sensibilities and where we need to take the franchise from here. And I love John Wick. One of the things that David Leitch does that very few filmmakers can do these days is they can make a movie on an ultra tight minimal budget look like it was shot for 10-15 times what it cost.
Now to figure out how to make Cable’s triumphant entry into the Deadpool universe a scene that can be shot for under $10 and with some leftover confetti from those little pop-guns with the gunpowder plugs that you use during a New Year’s party.