You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. The immortal words of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in The Dark Knight ring true in so many cases, including comic book movie franchises. Deadpool was the new darling of genre just two years ago and now its sequel is being cut down by rumors of negative reactions at a recent test screening.
Outside of a few disgruntled fans, and I’m pretty sure I know the reason they might be upset, I don’t buy these rumors.
Test screenings are supposed to be kept secret, especially for high profile films like Deadpool 2. Attendees are generally not even supposed to know what movie they’re seeing and all of them have to sign non-disclosure agreements before they’re allowed in the theater. That is how it is supposed to work, but that system may be broken beyond repair.
Last month, Aquaman screened in Burbank and just about everyone knew it ahead of time. Some DC/superhero movie fans were able to get in and then subsequently violated their NDAs by sharing their thoughts on the film via Reddit, or private messages and emails with influencers, reporters, and news outlets.
The same thing happened with Deadpool 2, as many fans already knew a screening was happening, got in, and shared their thoughts “privately” with other people on social media who then published the information. This method is employed to amplify the message and make it more difficult for the studio, Fox in this case, to find out which member of test screening audience broke their NDA.
The difference, of course, is that the few Aquaman reactions that got out were positive while the few Deadpool 2 reactions that have been reported were negative. In both cases, however, these are the remarks of a relative few diehard fans and should be taken as only that. These are not the overall test scores the films received in their respective screenings, nor do they indicate what a broader, mainstream audience will think when they see these films.
I’m sure there were still plenty of people who better fit the description of average moviegoers who attended the same screening and did not break their NDAs. A handful of people reaching out to others on social media while trying to retain some form of anonymity to circumvent Fox’s legal recourse do not add up to a representative sample.
That is why I did not bother reporting what I heard from people who attended a previous Deadpool 2 test screening. Weeks ago, I heard multiple accounts from people who loved the movie, but again, that’s not the same as the overall score, which would say whether or not the film was testing well.
Steven “Frosty” Weintraub of Collider has heard good things as well and he actually shared some information on testing scores today.
Have seen a completely untrue report of 'Deadpool 2' testing poorly. From what I heard the first 2 test screenings both scored over 90 with the second one scoring close to the top mark. I've also spoken to people that saw it. Everyone said it's excellent. Fans will love. pic.twitter.com/2WfL63aya9
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) March 12, 2018
I am not dismissing the negative accounts that have been provided to and subsequently shared by others. I’m sure there are some fans who have seen Deadpool 2 and walked away unhappy. I have a good guess as to what upset them.
I have heard about something that happens in Deadpool 2, which I thought sounded rather brilliant, that may bother some fans. It didn’t bother anyone I’ve heard from, but perhaps it irked the fans who reacted negatively at the most recent screening. I’m not going to say what it is because it’s pure spoiler, and a big one at that. I would never want to rob anyone of the chance of experiencing it in the theater without any idea of what was coming.
One comparison I can think of, in terms of audience reactions, is “The Mandarin Twist” in Iron Man 3. It was a big shock in the movie, and a lot of fans hated it, but mainstream audiences were far less bothered by it. To be clear, I am only speaking about the reactions to Iron Man 3 and what happens in Deadpool 2. I am not suggesting or hinting that this potentially polarizing (only for some) event in Deadpool 2 is a similar case of false identity for a major character.
Whatever the scores may be, I really hope that Fox keeps Deadpool 2 the way it is, aside from the usual adjustments that come this far before a movie is released. Superhero movies need bold moves and those that make them are usually rewarded.
Deadpool 2 will be no different, so long as it can stick to the originally intended plan.