Now Superhero Movies Have To Defend Not Being Rated 'R'

Now Superhero Movies Have to Defend Not Being Rated 'R'

Deadpool has been a huge success, but honestly, the most fascinating thing about it is how it's changed the conversation about superhero movie ratings. Case in point? Suicide Squad producer Charles Roven has had to defend the fact that his movie is targeting a PG-13 rating. The quote comes from Entertainment Weekly's ongoing coverage of Batman v Superman and the DC Cinematic Universe in its latest print issue, discussing BvS itself getting an R-Rated extended cut for the home release. Here's Roven on Suicide Squad:

I think right now we're going for the PG-13. I don't know that that's going to materially change. We can give that movie the edge that it needs and still maintain a PG-13.

He's basically saying, "Don't worry, it will still be good, even if it's not R-rated!" Because that's a thing that actually needs saying now, apparently.

Now, honestly, if there was a superhero movie on DC's slate right now, Suicide Squad would be the one that you'd imagine would be best-suited to an R-rating, given the cast of characters and the general tone. So questioning if it ever aimed for an R-rating is probably sensible — it would be a great fit for the movie. But can you imagine, maybe two months ago, getting a quote like Roven's above?

Deadpool has changed the conversation dramatically, in such a short timeframe. And it seems the wrong lessons are being taken from it from the get-go. That's not to say there isn't space for some of these movies to be rated higher than PG-13, but not everyone should suddenly be clamouring for every superhero flick to be R-rated just because Deadpool did so well. Its success was in its adaptation of the character, not because of its rating.

Between this, Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition and even Wolverine 3 recently, it seems now that every superhero movie coming out is going to be questioned about whether or not it will be R-rated (and, if not, why). At least we already know the answer for all the Marvel films though, as the question was raised at a Disney stockholder meeting yesterday:

[Entertainment Weekly]

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    It is utterly ridiculous. While I love my Batman and Superman comics for example, I don't *see* the need for Superman, The Flash, Batman or Wonderwoman to go Hard R (MA15 here). I understand essentially Batman pushing those boundaries as some comics in that area do get somewhat hyperviolent, and I can actually understand Dawn of Justice pushing towards an MA rating given it's Batman is a 'cruel, broken man'. Apparently it's 'R' rating has to do with its excessive violence, nothing else.

    But the idea that suddenly every movie has to defend is stupid. Deadpools content works because it's focused at adults, takes the piss out of the superhero genre at times and was a breath of fresh air. However, if you turn that breath of fresh air, into swinging the barn doors wide open, what's the point? Does Hawkeye need to be R? Does Ironman? Does Captain America? No. Does Elastic Man need to shape himself into a giant penis, cockslapping the badguys before apprehending them? Do we need to see Green Lantern turn into a giant school bus and squash Sinestros 50 henchmen to a bloody pulp before winning the day? No. It should only be used when tonally appropriate. That's *why* deadpool worked. That's even *why* Old Man Logan actually might work too.

    But that's exactly why it won't work for almost every other goddamn superhero movie out there that just runs with it as a novelty...

    But all you will truly need is one hard R rated superhero movie with an actual budget (something Deadpool did not have) to BOMB before the studios look at it, say "FUCK THAT!" and you receive your new slew of PG-13 superhero movies again anyhow... and if Deadpool 2 doesn't make anywhere near the same bank as part 1 did? Enjoy a watered down Deadpool 3...

    Last edited 05/03/16 11:46 am

      Fully agree.
      Deadpool has pretty much always been a more adulterated affair.
      To turn all of the movies into R-rated outings may lose them the younger fanbase audience whose actually abide by given ratings.
      R-rated tellitubbies, now there's an idea

        The R rating in the US spells doom for a movie. The teen audience is the biggest market. Movies are made to make money. Hence trying to keep everything PG keeps their biggest customer base open. Even if it can detract from the story by having to ditch scenes or even entire plot lines that alter the story that doesn't matter. A bad movie at PG makes more money than a good movie at R. Of course like deadpool there are always exceptions.

        Last edited 05/03/16 12:51 pm

          For the most part it's true. However a giant unnecessary budget also doesn't help this factor. There's many movies (Prometheus for example) that had overinflated budgets causing its rating to be pushed into the PG13 category. Ridley Scott even acknowledges *now* it was a mistake to go for an uber-budget (making it a risk, meaning you need the widest possible audience, like you said meaning PG13, this is a no brainer). While Deadpool has crossed half a billion on an R rating, this is an outlier, an exception, like you also noted (not disputing). There's HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of examples where this has not been the case. Deadpool is the exception to the rule, a case of right place, right time, everything coming together perfectly and symbiotically.

          Scotts going back to an R rating with Alien Covenant, with a smaller budget allegedly, to tell the next stage in the story. Because he knows it's a higher risk. The true kiss of death for a movie in the US in terms of cinematic release is NC-17, so they won't aim for that. But I bet you, in a few years we'll start hearing "Why won't they make NC17 superhero movies!" *rolls eyes*

      Some heroes it works better than others, Batman, Punisher etc. has always been a potential R-rated movie, Wonder Woman, Iron Man ? probably not. I've just watched 300 on Netflix, and the R-rating worked well.

      Does Elastic Man need to shape himself into a giant penis, cockslapping the badguys before apprehending them?

      Why yes, yes he does :p

        I mean I know I WOULD laugh my ass off seeing that... lmao

    All movies should be "R" rated and everyone should be allowed to see "R" rated movies. A bit of swearing and extreme violence never hurt anyone. This is just like when they said gamers would turn into homicidal maniacs because of the violent games they played. They didn't turn into killers and a "R" rated movie won't corrupt viewers. This world is so pathetic nowadays.

    extreme violence never hurt anyone

    That is the definition of hurting someone...

    Last edited 08/03/16 2:19 pm

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