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"Deadpool" and "Logan" setting a new trend for R-rated superhero movies
Ryan Reynolds in "Deadpool" (2016). - photo by Jeff Peterson
Prior to the success of last years Deadpool, if a movie featured a character with superpowers, wearing a superhero costume and/or fighting a super-villain, it was probably safe to at least consider taking the family to it.

Not so much anymore.

With the back-to-back successes of Foxs Deadpool and now a second high-profile R-rated superhero movie in last months Logan, also produced by Fox, the floodgates on even more superhero movies that gleefully embrace adult-oriented content could be about to burst wide open.

Of course Deadpool wasnt the first comic book character to get slapped with an R rating Wesley Snipes trio of Blade movies and several iterations of "The Punisher" are notable examples that all predate the merc with a mouth.

But what made Deadpool different was that it managed to become a mainstream hit on a scale that would make even a lot of PG-13 superheroes envious and not in spite of its R rating, but arguably because of it.

In domestic ticket sales alone, Deadpool raked in $363 million, according to Box Office Mojo. That makes it not only the most successful X-Men-related movie thus far, but also the second highest-grossing first installment of any superhero franchise period, ranking just behind Sam Raimis original Spider-Man. Internationally, its $783 million cumulative haul also makes it, according to Entertainment Weekly, the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. Period.

Hugh Jackmans swan song as the character Wolverine has also been doing gangbusters at the box office. Its already crossed the $200 million mark and is still going strong. Which means that, now that lightning has officially struck twice, other studios are looking to get in on the R-rated action.

Sony recently announced plans to (once again) kick off its own superhero movie universe starting with an R-rated, horror-influenced standalone movie featuring the fan-favorite Spider-Man villain Venom, according to Collider.

Confusingly, this film is said to not be connected in any way to the upcoming Marvel Spider-Man reboot with Tom Holland. Theres no word yet on how or if ol Webhead will even factor in, although anyone familiar with the characters comic book history knows how odd a completely Spider-Man-less Venom movie would be.

DC has also flirted with going the R-rated route with some of its major characters. An R-rated extended cut of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with more graphic fight scenes was released last year as a Blu-ray exclusive. And now, despite previous comments by producer Charles Roven that all upcoming DC releases will be PG-13, The Wrap has reported (citing a well-placed insider) that the studio has changed its mind and is now 100 percent considering the option of R-rated superhero movies in the vein of Deadpool and Logan.

The only studio not jumping on the bandwagon so far is Marvel Studios, although the Marvel/Netflix collaborations like Daredevil and Jessica Jones show that even the normally kid-friendly Marvel can go in darker directions.

Then, of course, theres Fox. Having started the trend, the studio behind the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies looks perfectly happy to continue with R-rated superheroes. A Deadpool sequel is already slated for next year, which will introduce a couple of key members of the X-Men comics universe. That, in turn, is expected to lead into another team movie called X-Force.

Assuming Deadpool 2 isnt a complete bust, X-Force will likewise target an R rating, according to producer Simon Kinberg.

The success of Deadpool and Logan have bolstered our confidence to make edgy, more daring, provocative, bold movies that audiences will embrace, he recently told Deadline Hollywood.

Kinberg did stress, however, that not every X-Men movie from here on out will be R-rated, but added that the PG-13 rating should be chosen for creative, not business reasons.

Despite all this, superhero movies that the whole family can go see arent exactly going to disappear anytime soon, in all likelihood. Worldwide, Captain America: Civil War pulled in more than $1 billion last year, and four other PG-13 superhero movies ranked on the top 20 list, according to Box Office Mojo.

This year, families can still look forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in May, Wonder Woman in June, Spider-Man: Homecoming in July and both Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League in November.

And next year is just as jam-packed but with one extra superhero flick, in particular, that should make all the times parents will have to tell their kids no when asked to see Deadpool 2 just a little bit easier: The Incredibles 2.
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