‘Deadpool’ Ushers In A New Era For R-Rated Comic Book Movies

A Deadpool sequel has already been green-lit. Not since the Blade trilogy have audiences seen an R-rated comic book film from a major comic franchise. (This does not include comic book films like Watchmen, Sin City, Kickass, etc). The R vs. PG-13 debate took place among the public once production on Deadpool began.

Forbes explains the push for a PG-13 version of Deadpool really came to a head when YouTube film critic, Grace Randolph, released a video discussing why she thinks there should be a PG-13 release of Deadpool. Randolph believes a hard R rating would alienate a core demographic of comic book movie fans from seeing. This was followed up with a petition on change.org which implored 20th Century Fox to release a toned down version of Deadpool.

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Those that have read the Deadpool comic book know the type of content featured within it. Deadpool is not meant for children to read. Comic book movies are not only meant to target one demographic. Films like Deadpool are targeted toward adults who love the genre, and the film kept in line with that vision. In an exclusive interview with ScreenRant, Simon Kinberg, producer for the Deadpool film, made the final decision on the R rating and he does not regret it.

“The superhero market is so oversaturated. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ filled a little bit of a hole there with the comedy side of it. But to go comedy, hard R just felt like an opportunity for Deadpool. And if they could keep the budget down, really it was the best move. And we’re most excited about that decision.”

Having an R rating is always a gamble, but Fox’s willingness to stand out among the comic book movie crowd has paid off as the film has silenced all the nay-sayers. According to Comicbook, Deadpool scored a four-day holiday total of $150 million at the box office. This record-breaking weekend completely obliterated Fifty Shades of Grey $85 million three-day opening. The difficulty now is how will Fox integrate an R-rated character (Deadpool), into a PG-13 universe (X-Men). Change is coming and quickly, especially, with the way Deadpool seems to have reinvigorated public interest in R-rated comic book films.

This change in momentum is moving so quickly that I09 announced the next and last Wolverine film (featuring Hugh Jackman) will have an R rating. In addition, Bloody Disgusting announced that the new Spawn film reboot is looking to have a hard R rating as well. There has been speculation that the plot for the new Wolverine film will be an adaptation of Mark Millar’s graphic novel Old Man Logan. However, that has not been confirmed. There is also talk about an X-Force film. X-Force (which also features Deadpool) is an extension of the X-Men that takes a more militant, deadly, black ops approach to defeating their foes. This means lots and lots of violence.

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Movie fans, and especially fans of the comic, will hold expectation that an X-Force movie needs to come with an R rating. Now is as good a time as any to use Deadpool to capitalize on this new resurgence of violence in cinema.

Hollywood is definitely going to follow-up on this trend by riding the wave of Deadpool‘s success. An announcement has been made that a reboot of Spawn will soon be coming back to theaters. Spawn‘s comic book writer, Todd McFarlane, is all for a reboot, and all for a hard R rating.

Parents, and their children under 18, will likely be upset over this new Hollywood trend thanks to Deadpool. They will have to get used to it. It’s good to differentiate films within the genre to show that not everything is for everybody. Will R-rated films start pulling in massive success because of Deadpool? Only time will tell.

[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]