FEATURE: How 2 Massive Studio Leaks Lead To ‘Deadpools’ Global Success

Feb 16, 2016

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The year was 2009; X-Men: Origins Wolverine just debuted and while Ryan Reynolds take on Wade Wilson was mostly well received  their version of “Deadpool” was demonized by most if not all comic book fans. FOX quickly wanted to win back their fans respect they lost over the past two X-Men films (X-Men: The Last Stand before that in 06) so they announced that a solo Deadpool origin film is going to come out starring Ryan Reynolds.

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Next they announced that writers Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick hot of their debut film Zombieland would be writing the film based on the classic Rob Liefeld character. Everything seemed to be coming together after the initial script was finished. Rob Liefeld recently spoke about how much he fell in love with the script back in 2010.

Then the first of two major leaks occurred…

On October 28th, 2010 the completed screenplay for Deadpool leaked online. Many fan blogs got their hands on it offering their very positive reviews on this raunchy hard-r take on the character.

CinemaBlend said on the script:

“In it’s best moments, [reading the ‘Deadpool’ script] is like reading ‘Van Wilder’ meets ‘Kill Bill’, a genius mix of insane dark comedy and ridiculous over the top violence the likes of which we’ve never seen in any other superhero movie before… With the right director and Reynolds in the lead, this script has the potential to be the ‘Dark Knight’ of R-rated superhero movies.”

io9 also added in their two cents on this script:

“This is pretty close to the original comics, including all the original supporting characters, the scarred face, the costume, the katanas, and the fourth-wall-breaking. If the movie actually gets made according to this script, the legion of Deadpool fans will be in ecstasy.”

The script was simply golden to many hardcore fans everywhere. Sin City director Robert Rodriguez quickly was attached to direct the film. However, the studio executives at FOX were not convinced that a R-rated superhero movie would be profitable. Because the year before Zack Snyder’s Watchmen was a box office failure even though it is considered one of the most comic book accurate films of all time.

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So the film sat on the back-burner for two more years and director Robert Rodriguez left the project to continue his Spy Kids franchise. Next unknown up-and-coming director Tim Miller was announced as attached to the project. Miller has a background in directing mostly CGI cinema trailers for most popular video games with his company Blur Studios.

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In 2012 Tim Miller with help from Blur Studios and Ryan Reynolds recorded a fully motion-captured opening credit sequence directly from the Deadpool script. The footage was suppose to be for FOX executives only. However, some local friends and celebrity’s were lucky enough to view the footage at Blur Studios after signing some NDA’s.

The film still put on the back burner for another two years…Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick went onto write G.I.Joe: Retaliation in the meantime. But Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds still held on that this film could and should be made.

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Until the night before San Diego Comic-Con 2014 ended a second leak occurred on the film. A cam-version of that same Deadpool footage leaked online for all view. It was a massive success the footage was viewed and shared millions of times everywhere. The very next day an HQ version of the footage appeared secretly on Blur Studios official website. It was simply titled “Weapon X footage”. No less than an hour later the entire Weapon X page disappeared off their website. Never to be seen again…

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No less than a month later after this second leak the studio officially green lit (again) a Deadpool solo film starring Ryan Reynolds. With production starting in early 2015 and scheduled for a February 12th, 2016 release. After 7 years the film was finally being made but on a very small budget of only $58 Million dollars compared to most comic book movies are made in the $200+ Million dollar mark.

But who leaked all these things for this film to even be made? Many think that the original cam-version footage was recorded from the Blur Studios website the night before since a download link was available. The only way anyone could get the HQ version was recording directly off their desktop. However the HQ version was indeed on their website before being taken down…

The Hollywood Reporter has since done some digging and revealed that a member of Blur Studios or director Tim Miller himself was responsible for the footage being leaked online:

“I am now prepared to say with near (but not total) certainty that it was either the film’s director, Tim Miller, or someone close to him. And while Miller hasn’t publicly said he was behind the leak, numerous sources point to him or one of his colleagues at Blur. I have no smoking-gun proof other than my typically very reliable sources on such matters. But if so, it was a bold move from a filmmaker who had nothing to lose and everything to gain. This was a guy pushing 50, trying to get his first movie made. What was going to happen to him? Be banned from directing movies?”

They go onto add:

“One insider insists Miller did not do it, painting him as the kind of person who would come out and say so if he did. This person posits the leak could have originated from emails that were sent to garner the director more work, with links to the footage as a showcase of his talent. Still, another insider believes the leak was an inside job since, as opposed to years earlier when a Deadpool script leaked online and was regarded as happenstance, this leak had a specific goal of moving the project forward.

‘A sentiment for years among the Deadpool team was ‘If only people could see this,’ says the source. ‘There was a wish of ‘what if we stepped away from our computers and it somehow leaked?’ If Miller is behind the leak, it would make sense to another person close to the project: ‘I’ve never come across anyone so determined to make something happen,’ says this insider of Miller. ‘He should get a lot, if not the most, credit, for getting this done.'”

And as they say…the rest is history. After it’s 4-day opening weekend release the film has made over $130 million dollars domestically and $400 Million worldwide being the biggest R-rated film in February and biggest X-Men film debut in history! Easily making back their production and marketing costs at FOX…So could FOX look deeply into the initial leaks? Or they could just sit back and take in all the films accolades and money. Tim Miller has since gone on the record stating he was “horrified” when the footage initial leaked..

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But FOX you seriously might want to start changing the password on your computers….

Deadpool is out in theaters now!

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