A promotional poster for the new Deadpool movie resembles a painting commissioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and some say the Mormon church could file a copyright lawsuit.
The advertisement for Once Upon a Deadpool is being called “controversial” because it resembles a painting called “The Second Coming” (commissioned by the LDS church and painted by Harry Anderson) and includes the tagline “Yule Believe in Miracles.” Ryan Reynolds’ character, in the poster, portrays Jesus while other members of the cast are dressed as angels.
Residents of Utah had “mixed reactions” to the poster, according to a local news report.
“Everyone is too quick to get offended — too easily offended,” said Jeremy Richmond. “But it’s certainly not for nothing. If it’s a shot at The Church, then maybe church-goers and members might be offended, but not Utahns in general.”
“It’s not about religion, it’s not about the church, it’s about Jesus Christ,” Kattia Contreras, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told ABC4.
“We shouldn’t make fun of the savior. They are not making fun of us, they are not making fun of the church. They are making fun of Jesus Christ,” Contreras said.
I think Jeremy is right on. This could offend some Mormons, but anyone who has seen Deadpool knows that the poster will be the least offensive thing about the movie.
The controversy is overblown — it’s not like anyone looking at the poster will think it’s mocking Mormons — but it turns out the Church might actually have a legal argument on their side. That’s according to an intellectual property attorney interviewed by ABC.
“It is a jab at the state of Utah, and a jab at the LDS Church… because this use is commercial, I would assume that the LDS Church would have a good claim for copyright infringement if they chose to pursue it. But they generally are reluctant to do that.”
I don’t see it as a “jab” at the state of Utah at all, but that’s part of the beauty of art. It can be interpreted in several ways. The legal argument, however, sounds similar to the recent claim by The Satanic Temple that a statue they commissioned was the basis for one used by Netflix in the show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. (That case was eventually settled out of court.)
The Mormon Church itself hasn’t yet commented on the poster, or whether or not they’ll pursue legal action. Regardless, there are plenty of Mormons who are offended for no good reason.