The incredible success of R-rated superhero movie Deadpool is sparking speculation about how it will impact the rest of the genre.
With a record-breaking opening weekend, Deadpool has proven conclusively that superhero films don't have to stick to a PG-13 rating to be successful. Despite studio fears that the higher rating would limit audiences by keeping kids away, Deadpool out-performed Guardians of the Galaxy, Man of Steel, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With impressive stats like that, could this mean that more superhero films will aim for an R-rating in the future?
The decision to make Deadpool R-rated wasn't taken lightly. The film has been in the works for years, with star Ryan Reynolds fighting to keep the filthy, funny, heart of the character intact. Arguably, Wade Wilson is one of very few characters that requires an R-rating to stay true to the comics, and few other films would benefit from the higher rating. Do we really need blood and bad language to capture the essence of, say, Black Panther? Not so much.
However, there is one upcoming film that may take advantage of the fact that Deadpool has put R-ratings back on the table: X-Force.
X-Force (a darker, black-ops style mutant team) has been a possibility for Fox for some time. A few years back, a script was being worked on, but the project never took off. More recently, Ryan Reynolds told ComicBook.com that he would like to start working on an X-Force film, potentially with Cable at the helm. We know that Cable will be making an appearance in the Deadpool sequel, so X-Force could appear after that.
Now, Simon Kinberg has also spoken about the possibility of an X-Force movie, and an R-rating for it. Speaking after an exclusive pre-screening of Deadpool for Collider, Kinberg said that he could see X-Force getting the higher rating because it would suit that team.
"I think there are some stories that could be R-rated. I don’t know what they are, I mean I think the mainline X-Men movies have their own tone, which is a more operatic tone. It’s more dramatic, it is more PG-13 in a way. X-Force I could see being R-rated, and who knows?"
Obviously, this is not confirmation that X-Force is 100% on the slate for Fox in the next few years, or that it would definitely be R-rated, but it's interesting to see that Deadpool's success could get studios to consider darker, more adult films.
It's also fantastic to see that Kinberg is carefully considering the different tones that the X-Men franchise can explore. As James Gunn pointed out earlier today on his Facebook page, Deadpool didn't just do well because it was chock full of blood and guts.
Deadpool wasn't that. Deadpool was its own thing. THAT'S what people are reacting to. It's original, it's damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn't afraid to take risks.
Simply making other X-Men films R-rated isn't going to make them as popular as Deadpool is proving to be unnecessary just because we now know that it doesn't have to limit audiences. X-Force, with Deadpool and Cable in the lead and a more adult approach, would work wonderfully with an R-rating, but if it does end up R-rated, it will be because the film SHOULD have a higher rating, not just because it can.
Of course, it will be some time before an X-Force film even gets going, with X-Men: Apocalypse, Gambit, Deadpool 2, Wolverine 3, and New Mutants all likely to happen before then. Still, it's fascinating to consider how R-rated films could join the franchise in the next decade.