Disney Will Keep Deadpool Rated R After Fox Merger, But What Does This Mean for Future R-Rated Marvel Content?
Will darker Marvel content have a place at the Mouse House?
With the ink drying on the Disney-Fox merger, Marvel fans have plenty of questions regarding the integration of the MCU and Fox properties. Will the X-Men appear alongside the Avengers? Will the studios take another ill-fated stab at the Fantastic Four? And finally, will Deadpool be forced into PG-13 territory?
Luckily, Disney has no such plans to censor the Merc with the Mouth. On a call with investors, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger assured investors that Deadpool would remain Rated R. Iger said, “We’re going to continue in that business,” following up with “There’s certainly popularity” for R-rated comic book films. Iger also said that steps would be taken to keep the brands separate, and that Disney-Fox would be “carefully branding [R-rated films]…so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer.”
This is akin to what Iger said in 2017, “[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel-branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool … As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
This seems like it is easily done. After all, the average movie consumer may not know that Deadpool and Avengers films come from separate studios, but it’s easy enough to distinguish the content from trailers and other promotional material, not to mention the ratings themselves.
And it’s hardly surprising that Iger would want to continue with a “Marvel-R” brand. After all, both Deadpool films and the R-rated Logan, which worldwide grossed over $600 million. Both Deadpool films have surpassed $700 million at the global box office. There’s also the rumor that Black Widow might introduce the existing MCU’s first R movie, possibly for the bad reason that if it fails, they can blame the movie being female-led.
Another sign that audiences don’t want a PG-13 Deadpool is the dismal performance of the PG-13 recut of Deadpool 2, Once Upon a Deadpool, a limited-run cancer fundraiser that only grossed $6 million domestically.
While this is good news for Marvel-R fans, it has us wondering what the future of Marvel-R holds for television. With Disney launching their streaming service Disney+, which will focus on family-friendly fare. In addition, their relationship with Netflix has all but ended, as all Marvel shows have been canceled except for Punisher and Jessica Jones. Both shows are likely to be canceled in the future, but for now their status is up in the air.
The most likely landing place for mature Marvel television series? Hulu. With the Disney-Fox merger done, Disney will be acquiring Fox’s 60% stake in the streaming platform, which is already home to Marvel’s Runaways. If Punisher or similarly dark series will survive, they’re likely to end up there.
(via io9, image: 20th Century Fox)
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