Why Deadpool Gives Me Hope For A Bioshock Movie
A few years ago, director Gore Verbinski (The Ring, Pirates of the Caribbean) was charged with the task of bringing the video game Bioshock to life on the big screen. The game centers on the underwater city of Rapture. A place built to house the world’s most brilliant minds with limitless resources. You play a character who enters the a retro/steampunk world of Rapture on a mission to find out where it all went wrong. Along the way you encounter possessed children, their violent guardians and discover the secrets of advanced gene splicing. All while discovering your characters true history. The game is considered on the best experiences on the last generation of video game consoles. (XBox 360, Playstation 3) It has an amazing story with a dark twist you will NOT see coming.
The sophisticated story (developed by 2K Studios) unfolds in a completely immersive world you have to see to believe. Bioshock is, first and foremost, a beautiful game and an unforgettable single player experience. However, the game is violent, gory and features disturbing imagery throughout. Rapture is also full of psychotic characters, violent ‘splicers’ and the notoriously aggressive Big Daddy’s.
So when Gore Verbinski pitched his vision of an ‘R’ rated science fiction adventure, the studio had second thoughts and the project was eventually put on the shelf. It’s understandable. After all, the budget needed to pull off the underwater city of Rapture alone would be substantial. It’s a world we’ve never been before. When Peter Jackson wanted to create Middle Earth for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was able to shoot the brilliant landscapes in New Zealand. You can’t exactly go to the bottom of the ocean with a film crew.
Most of all, the idea of an ‘R’ rated blockbuster was unproven and extremely risky for the project’s investors. How can you spend $200 million dollars on a film with such uncertainty? Gore Verbinski eventually left the project. Bioshock had to wait… History became legend… Legend became myth… (I swear that’s my last LOTR reference)
Finally, the rated ‘R’ audience proved there is a market for mature genre films when they helped power Deadpool to a $150 million dollar 4-day opening weekend. The film was made for $58 million dollars yet took over a decade to create for similar reasons to Bioshock’s stagnant development. There was once hope to spin the character off from X-Men Origins: Wolverine but that movie was horrendous and reviled for the way they butchered Deadpool. The Merc with the Mouth was relegated to development hell…
Then, magic happened. I’ll let Deadpool himself Ryan Reynolds explain how the project FINALLY rose from the dead.
Would you kindly make a Bioshock movie?
Why is this good for Bioshock? Deadpool is a lesser known character when it comes to general audiences. Likewise, Bioshock is a complete mystery to people who don’t at least follow the gaming industry. Thanks to Deadpool, studios now know general audiences will follow genre fans to the theater. Deadpool’s opening numbers were larger than any X-Men movie to date. A new franchise has arrived. The dreaded Rated ‘R’ moniker is no longer a dead end when it comes to big blockbusters. It’s an opportunity for dozens of dormant franchises to come alive once again. I believe Bioshock can achieve success similar to Deadpool with the right combination of talent behind the scenes.
It’s not easy to get a movie like Bioshock off the ground. Deadpool may be a huge success but it was created for less than $60 million dollars. (One might call it a ‘Circus of Values’?) The character also lives within Fox’s shared universe of X-Men films. It may be a new franchise but it’s no accident ‘X-Men’ is dropped in the trailers. Speaking of which, Deadpool was a dream character for marketing teams. He constantly breaks the fourth wall allowing unprecedented viral opportunities. Whether you like Deadpool or not, you have to give credit to the film’s tremendous marketing campaign.
Bioshock is not an easy sell. It will be considerably more expensive to make and requires an incredible amount of pre-production to fully conceptualize a worthy adaptation. I’m not saying a Bioshock movie is guaranteed. What I’m suggesting is a major obstacle has been destroyed like Chimi-f*cking-changas thanks to Deadpool.
Could we see a Bioshock movie in the future? Yes. I believe it’s inevitable. It’s an original world that would be brilliant on the big screen. However, when Gore Verbinski left the project I felt hopeless. How could a studio back a rated ‘R’ fantasy film? People once thought it was impossible to produce a series of connected films. Then Marvel came along and perfected the process. Now cinemas are full of shared cinematic universes including DC, Transformers and, of course, Deadpool’s X-Men.
The film industry thrives on trends. Has Deadpool done enough to help green light more rated ‘R’ films? I hope so. I want to see a Bioshock movie immediately! Until then I must play through that incredible campaign again. Well done 2K Studios… Well done.