Deadpool 2 will be released again in theaters this holiday as Once Upon a Deadpool—a PG-13 cut more suitable for family viewing. The limited engagement raises money for charity and features new scenes with Fred Savage that were shot in the style of The Princess Bride.
From December 12 to 24, Once Upon a Deadpool will play in select theaters and donate $1 for every ticket sold to “Fudge Cancer,” a charity whose name was also been cleaned up for the occasion.
In the new version, Deadpool kidnaps Fred Savage and forces him to recreate scenes from The Princess Bride. With no other choice, Savage sits in bed while listening to Deadpool relay the events of Deadpool 2.
Savage kept the gag going outside of filming, as well, telling Deadline: “While my participation in this film was anything but voluntary. I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab.”
The film, for all intents and purposes, will serve as a branded, gonzo version of the original Deadpool 2, serving to promote the franchise with a standalone holiday release. The only example in recent memory that could be compared to Once Upon a Deadpool is the Uncle Drew feature film that began as a Pepsi ad.
The new scenes between Ryan Reynolds and Savage will compensate for any R-rated missing material, which is probably substantial. Even with the new scenes, the running time of Once Upon a Deadpool is about three minutes shorter than Deadpool 2.
On December 12th, there will be zero F’s given. pic.twitter.com/CPRYxuPcBT
— Deadpool Movie (@deadpoolmovie) November 9, 2018
Superhero movies are traditionally rated PG-13 as to appeal to that coveted four-quadrant model—males and females both over and under the age of 25. However, when Deadpool was greenlit for production, Reynolds refused to compromise on the namesake character’s trademark vulgarity. In fact, a PG-13 announcement was made as an April Fool’s Day joke to hit that point home.
The gamble paid off, making Deadpool the best-performing R-rated film in history. The sequel was another financial success, bringing in over $734 million globally. Ever since the anti-hero’s blockbuster, foul-mouthed debut, however, parents and studio executives alike have requested a cleaner version that appeals to a wider audience.
Now that Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, Once Upon a Deadpool may serve as a test to see if families will put their money where their mouth is—after all, the character is, by nature, a vulgar superhero that can get away with things you can’t put in a family film. Anything else may be seen as a compromise for the sake of money.