10The Spider-Man Effect
R-rated comic book movies may seem like a fresh concept, but they’re really nothing new. It could even be argued that R-rated adaptations were the first comic book movie trend, and that trend was killed off by the PG-13 comic book blockbuster.
The late '90s
and early 2000s saw a string of R-rated comic book movies that each benefited from a moderate box office return on low-to-mid level production budgets. The Crow, Blade, and Blade II each at least doubled their budget at the box office, and were well respected by fans. Daredevil was originally intended to follow this pattern. Then Spider-Man happened.
Spider-Man had a much higher budget than the other comic book movies happening at the time, but it also brought in over $820 million at the box office. Those numbers are enough to make any studio executive’s eyes pop.
Fox decided that Daredevil had to be the next Spider-Man. The movie - whose original pitch sounded a bit like Batman Begins before Batman Begins - had a new mandate: be more like Spider-Man. This means more romance, more hijinks, and more CGI rooftop hopping.
Who’s to say that the original pitch would have worked as intended, but it sounds a lot more like the widely popular Netflix Daredevil we have now than the middling and derided Daredevil we got in 2003.