There has been a lot of speculation that every producer's plan following the success of Deadpool would be to mimic the approach of the R-rated film.
So, at the recent press junket for Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which we were fortunate enough to attend, producer Charles Roven explained to Collider Warner Bros.' approach to the growing DC Universe and whether there were any plans to release Suicide Squad with an R rating:
"At the moment, my understanding is we are still releasing Suicide Squad as a PG-13, so there hasn’t been to my mind a serious conversation about doing anything other than that. I understand why Deadpool was released as an R-rated film, and I think that the DC Justice League characters, particularly because so many of them are so iconographic, have been around for so long and for so many generations that have grown up with them, and that are still growing up with them, I think we want to present them, when we finally present them, to the broadest possible audience that we can. I think that’s why we’ve planned on making these movies PG-13.
Are there any plans to give future DC movies an R rating?
"I’m not seeing any real reason to change. We’ve made some pretty edgy films that are rated PG-13. You never want to say “never” because we all evolve, but right now I think we’re staying that course."
It's interesting that there had in fact been "serious conversations" at the studio to make the upcoming Suicide Squad an R-rated film. The source material is a good fit for a mature and dark approach, however before last month's release of Deadpool it was thought the adult rating would doom a movie's chances at the box-office. Clearly this philosophy has been revisited. David Ayer is known for his gritty, street-level tone and style of filmmaking with films on his resume such as Training Day and Fury. In any case, Roven's comments signal that we can expect a hard-hitting film late this summer, that pushes the boundary of its PG-13 rating.
If you take a look at WB's upcoming slate of DC Comics based movies, which include the Justice League and solo films for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash, they all lend themselves to a family-friendly tone. Wonder Woman could be an inspirational character and role model for both boys and girls, while still telling a story that spans the ages. The Flash's nature is light-hearted and whimsical, not to mention the script is being written by the comedic team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have had success in R-rated films such as 21 Jump Street and family films like The LEGO Movie. While Aquaman's deep sea adventure may lend itself to some scary imagery, it would be foolish to not allow children to see the majesty of Atlantis on the big screen.
Warner Bros. is distinguishing its superhero movies from Marvel's by making their films have a much more dramatic and cinematic flair. It's yet to be seen how fans and general audiences will receive the next key building block for the DC Extended Universe, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The movie is certainly not without controversy. Roven's comments do highlight how a PG-13 film still can be dark, scary, and dangerous, without gratuitous amounts of gore or sex. Time will tell if fans' tastes have truly matured or if they will reject the approach of WB. We will find out shortly.
'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' opens on March 25th, 2016.