Although Logan has yet to be officially given the R-rating fans are clamoring for, the movie’s trailers and reports from the production all suggest that this will be the case. And although mature mainstream superhero movies aren’t commonplace, this isn’t 20th Century Fox’s first. Last year, the studio had huge success with Deadpool which – despite being packed with violence, crude humor and colorful language – became the franchise’s most profitable venture to date.
Given the struggle Ryan Reynolds and company experienced trying to get Deadpool off the ground – as well as the movie’s limited budget – it’s clear that Fox perhaps didn’t have high hopes for the film. This belief was, of course, proved monumentally off the mark and when reports began to emerge from the production of Logan claiming that Hugh Jackman had taken a pay cut to ensure his last waltz as Wolverine would also be an R-rated affair, many thought Deadpool‘s success had paved the way for this move.
In an interview with Fandango, Logan director James Mangold confirmed that while Deadpool‘s success did give Fox faith that a mature Wolverine movie could be successful, it was always his intention to head in this direction. Asked whether Deadpool played a role in going R-rated, Mangold states:
“I was already writing this movie before Deadpool came out but I will say that what Deadpool did is it made the studio feel a lot better about taking the risk I was asking them to take. They saw there was a marketplace reward for being different.”
Mangold’s comments are reassuring in several senses. Firstly, that Fox is willing to give fans what they want – a brutal live-action version of Wolverine – and secondly, that Logan hasn’t simply been spiced up with blood and F-words to capitalize on Deadpool‘s success but rather this direction was always the intended tone for the movie. There are countless examples of movies being toned down by their respective studios in order to achieve a more family friendly rating and its a relief this hasn’t been the case with Logan.
If the final Wolverine solo movie does achieve significant success, it could spark a new direction for Fox. As Mangold hints at in this comments, Deadpool proved that there was an unfulfilled market in Hollywood for superhero movies with mature content. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s big-screen output is unashamedly aimed at a wide audience and the DC Expanded Universe is currently attempting to compete in this regard. By heading in a completely different direction, Fox can capitalize on an entirely different section of the film-going audience.
With that said, there is likely to be a section of superhero fans who aren’t too pleased with Logan‘s likely R-rating: the kids. Movies such as Iron Man and Justice League are responsible for introducing a whole new generation to characters that they probably wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Whilst longtime, grown-up, fans may be rejoicing at the prospect of Wolverine finally cutting loose on the big screen, the X-Men franchise has a large younger following who may be disappointed at not being able to see Jackman’s last stand in cinemas.