With "Deadpool" grabbing Hollywood’s attention with its unprecedented success as an R-rated superhero film, the industry seems to be following like lemmings down the same path, as per usual. As we’ve noted, it’s treacherous territory to try and blueprint 20th Century Fox‘s success, but that studio is rumored to be thinking about an R-rating for the next "The Wolverine" flick, while Warner Bros. has already promised that same rating will be be attached to the home video version of "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice." However, don’t expect Marvel to make a movie only for adults anytime soon.
On an investor call today, Disney Chairman Bob Iger made it very clear: "We don’t have any plans to make R-rated Marvel movies."
This is not a surprise. While the studio released R-rated pictures back in the day when Miramax and Touchstone Pictures were under the Disney umbrella, it’s not part of its business plan now. The studio and company as a whole has a focus on four-quadrant blockbusters that can bring in all ages, as well as dramas (via DreamWorks) that are solid but not provocative. It would make little sense in that atmosphere for Marvel to make an R-rated Punisher movie, for example. And moreover, the television division of Marvel is already exploring adult themes on television through shows like "Jessica Jones" —that format seems to be better suited for those elements.
Overall, Kevin Feige has perfected the Marvel movie formula and approach, and you don’t fix what isn’t broken, especially when a given superhero film is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And these words from "Deadpool" writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, from our recent interview, pretty much says it all when it comes to Hollywood chasing the R-rated hit movie.
“That shouldn’t necessarily be the lesson that everyone takes from ‘Deadpool,’ that all super hero films should be R-rated. It’s great that some of them will be R —a lot of our favorite movies from childhood, ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Terminator,’ ‘Matrix,’ they were all R-rated action movies. More than anything, the lesson we hope people take away is: you’ve got to take risks. Sometimes that risk will be an R-rating, sometimes it won’t, but to trust the lunatics is the lesson to take away from Deadpool’s success,” Wernick said.
“When people analyze ‘Deadpool,’ trying to figure out what went right to try and replicate it, I think that’s entirely missing the point," Reese explained. " ‘Deadpool’ exists because we didn’t analyze the movies that came before it and try and figure out what made them special. We just went off on our own path, and if there is a lesson, it’s to encourage and nurture that.”
One could argue Marvel is doing just that, taking some risks with movies like "Ant-Man" and "Guardians Of The Galaxy" (which paid off), and the upcoming "Doctor Strange." Thoughts? Let us know if Marvel needs to go R-rated or if they’re just fine as it is.
"We don’t have any plans to make R-rated Marvel movies," Iger says in response to a shareholder comment about Fox’s hit film, "Deadpool."
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) March 3, 2016