‘Deadpool,’ an Extra Witty Superhero, Has Comic-Con on Its Feet


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In “Deadpool,” a coming comic-based movie, Ryan Reynolds plays an extra-witty, extra-violent, extra-foul-mouthed Marvel superhero.Credit Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox, via Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — In the end, it was not even close: “Deadpool” from 20th Century Fox won Comic-Con — and one reason behind its success here should make studios nervous.

Evaluating how movie footage goes over with the 6,500 people crammed into the San Diego Convention Center’s central hall is a tricky business. Sometimes there is only scattered applause, signaling a looming box-office disaster. (Example: “The Host,” Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” follow-up.) But typically all of the trailers and montages shown by studios get at least solidly polite clapping.

So you use experience (eight Cons and counting for this reporter) to take a reading. And rarely has the crowd here responded as it did late Saturday to footage from “Deadpool,” a coming comic-based movie starring Ryan Reynolds as an extra-witty, extra-violent, extra-foul-mouthed Marvel superhero.

“Deadpool” received an instantaneous standing ovation in Hall H, a rarity, and there was immediate chanting to play it again, which the studio did. Twitter lit up with positive feedback, as did fan blogs and entertainment news sites. “There is no debate who won Comic-Con on Saturday,” wrote Gregory Ellwood on HitFix.com, noting that “Deadpool” got a hotter response than Warner’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“The First ‘Deadpool’ Footage Massively Exceeded Our High Expectations” read a headline on the science-fiction blog io9.

How “Deadpool” will ultimately be received by rank-and-file ticket buyers when Fox releases it in February is still anyone’s guess. The bloody movie will be rated R — highly unusual for a mass-appeal superhero movie — and Mr. Reynolds has a troubled history of filling seats. (Example: “Green Lantern.”)

But the enormously positive response from hard-core fans reveals something Hollywood may need to note. Mr. Reynolds neatly summed it up in a comment on stage about Fox’s decision to make such a quirky superhero movie: “I think they saw that the world is ready for something different.”

If that is true, certain superhero movies on the horizon, including Fox’s own “Fantastic Four,” which carries a whiff of been-there, done-that and received a cooler audience reaction on Saturday, are in trouble.



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