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So sayeth Deadline, this allegedly mysterious Deadpool project slated for Dec. 21, 2018 (instead of Alita: Battle Angel) is indeed a PG-13 cut of 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool 2. That will make three different versions of the David Leitch-directed superhero sequel, counting the 119-minute R-rated theatrical cut and the 133-minute super-duper unrated version on Blu-Ray. The big question is whether this will be a deeply self-satirical version of Deadpool 2, with profanity intentionally dubbed over with ridiculous substitutes and the more graphic violence censored in an overtly aware fashion or whether it will be an honest try at fitting the R-rated superhero franchise into a PG-13 box. And if it works as the latter, it might be a game-changer.
No, this isn’t about making Deadpool safe for Walt Disney or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney may not be saints, but they aren’t stupid. They know that a PG-13 version of Deadpool that plays like the censored Super NES version of the first Mortal Kombat will go over about as well to hardcore fans and general adult moviegoers as the PG-13 rated Expendables 3. But Expendables 3, PG-13 and all, played quite well in China. The film barely topped $200 million worldwide in the summer of 2014, but it made $72m of that in China. And, presuming this is a “serious” attempt to cut Deadpool 2 down to a PG-13, is the goal in this exercise.