Brace yourselves, R-rated superhero movies are coming.
It is inevitable that Deadpool’s massive success will have every suit in Hollywood looking for the next “merc-with-a-mouth” success story (an opening weekend gross of $135 million in February tends to get attention(1)). As the wanna-be geeks in tinsel-town try and determine the best bet at the box office, we here at AFAIK have determined what are the top 5 “anti-heroes” that have the chops to succeed in a violent, foul-mouthed, nudity-laced movie.
When determining who is eligible, only “anti-hero” characters that haven’t had a major role in a movie in the last 3 years or don’t have a confirmed upcoming project were considered. A list was then compiled of suitable subjects, and the S.L.A.D.B.O.M. (Studios Looking At Deadpool Box Office Money) scoring system was applied (1-10 scale). The Comic Sales score was determined by the amount of ‘top 1000″ comic book sales in 2015 as well as graphic novel sales in 2015(2). When appearing in a book with other characters; team books counted as 1/3, and team-up books counted for half of their sales. The “Geek” Popularity score was determined by 4 separate polls/rankings of heroes(3)(4)(5)(6). And finally, the Zeitgeist score was determined via internet search popularity (7). So, without further ado, here is our top 5:
Despite the age of his content (Watchmen) Rorschach remains a fan favorite with a 8.75 in Geek Popularity (number 2 on our list) even if he has fallen out of the general consciousness (Zeitgeist score of 2) . He is a deeply disturbed dark character that resonated in Watchmen; but will viewers want to watch 2 hours of just him? Who would be an antagonist that we would care about? There’s also the minor problem of his canonical death – but we all know that death is just the “flesh wound” of comic books.
The Spider-man villain that became so popular he slowly warped into an anti-hero in later incarnations. The visuals you could do with him would be undoubtedly eye-popping (and gruesome). His personality can be changed based on who you have as the symbiote’s host (Brock, Thompson, etc.) to fit the story. Carnage would be the obvious antagonist but might be too-similar to Venom to be a home run. Although he is solid across the board in all three categories, he isn’t the superstar he was 20 years ago.
Yes, he has already had 3(!) solo movies made about him ranging from not-good (Dolph Lundgren) to marginal successes (Thomas Jane). There is no doubt he still retains rock-star popularity among fans hitting number 1 in Geek Popularity. Surprisingly, he doesn’t have any current titles in the top 1000 for 2015 and his graphic novel sales are sparse (a far cry from his multiple title days). Maybe the general populace is telling us they just don’t want a Punisher movie after so many tries; or maybe they just haven’t found the right Frank Castle (I vote for Tom Hardy). The character’s turn on the 2nd season of Daredevil might reveal which way the wind is blowing.
Even though it may be a question if he is enough “hero” to even be an anti-hero, his comic book sales (number 1 by far on our list) confirms people want to see him in a starring role. His turn on Arrow has helped him establish himself in the general populace (Zeitgeist score of 6). He is also a character that just oozes “cool factor”. And heck, Deadpool was originally created as homage to the character of Deathstroke, so that has to be good, right? Well, without the crazy humor…
Number 1 on our SLADBOM is Catwoman.
She has had a strong turn on Gotham (her Zeitgeist is number 1) and has a very strong Geek Popularity score of 8.5 (she actually appears high on polls as both a hero and a villain). For a moment forget that horrible abomination Catwoman movie “starring” Halle Berry (if you can forget it forever, count yourself as blessed). Now, imagine a movie with a morality-torn strong-female lead, tons of available and recognizable antagonists, and room to explore dark material. Now that the DC cinematic universe is getting created and melded together, a cameo from Batman could even happen. Long story short, Catwoman looks to be a strong bet for an R-rated anti-hero film.
Honorable mentions: Spawn, Moon Knight, Red Hood, Blade, Cable, and Lobo.
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