Logan & The Future Of R-Rated Superhero Movies
Given the massive box office success that R-rated superhero movies have had, thanks to Logan and Deadpool, is it inevitable that other studios will try to copy Fox's winning superhero formula?
When Wolverine appears in Logan, he’s graying and tired. His claws get stuck between his knuckles and have lost their responsiveness. He’s suicidal and he’s drinking too much, even for him. Guys he normally would have taken out with a quickness can get him on his back. He looks like shit—and because this is R-rated Wolverine, he can say so.
This rage-filled, drunk, foul-mouthed Logan who never got to fully surface in the previous X-Men movies is finally joining Deadpool in the world of grown-up cinema. And it’s the perfect way for him to end his run.
A recent survey by Fandango found that 71% of more moviegoers want more R-rated superhero flicks. The idea of embracing the R-rating — of truly seeing superheroes lash out with all their power — is a very tempting one. Many fans are drawn to the creative freedom offered by R-rated films, which are perfectly suited to some of the more brutal characters; let’s face it, Wolverine’s adamantium claws are practically made for an R-rating!
Historically, R-rated comic book adaptations haven’t been deemed financially viable. Although there have been a number of enjoyable and critically acclaimed R-rated superheroes — Watchmen (2009), Kick Ass (2010), the Blade trilogy and of course Deadpool. The fact that Logan is rated R doesn’t seem to have harmed its prospects.
In its simplest form, some characters deserve a darker, more grown-up version to fully do justice to their skill set. Whether that persuades Disney to make an R-rated movie in the MCU remains to be seen. At least year’s annual Disney meeting, CEO Bob Iger ruled it out, explaining that they don’t have ‘any plans’ to make R-rated Marvel movies.
Admittedly, the MCU is a powerhouse, and Disney will be conscious of reaching as big an audience as possible, something that restricting children from viewing their movies wouldn’t achieve. But Wolverine’s last appearance has the widest release ever for an R-rated movie, opening in 4,071 theaters, with a huge opening weekend at the box office, with takings worldwide of $240 million. Along with Deadpool’s success, this shows there is money to be made with an R-rating.
Taking about the DC Cinematic Universe, there’s no reason to make an R-rated Man Of Steel 2 but the R-rating would add to Harley Quinn’s character. Still, the DCEU needs something more than a more darker R-Rated flick, it requires a sense of character development.
As for the future, we’ll see a lot of R-Rated Superhero movies, at least from Fox if not from Disney & Warner Bros.