The concept of R-rated superhero films is not a new one in Hollywood, but the idea has made a revival in recent years. With the coming of Deadpool and Logan, studios are now willing to branch out and go darker with superheroes than they have previously. Fans have responded favorably the grittier tone with cold, hard cash - but 20th Century Fox almost stayed out of the race entirely. While Deadpool all but necessitated an R-rating, the X-Men franchise had stayed away from the rating until Logan. And, now, one of the film’s producers is explaining why the studio finally relented on the issue.
Recently, Fox held a panel for Logan ahead of its impending home release, and CinemaBlend was there to listen to Hutch Parker talk about the film. It was there the producer admitted Fox had little interest in an R-rated X-Men film until director James Mangold pitched his savory story.
“We had had conversations in different iterations and even going back long before The Wolverine about more grounded storytelling in the universe. Candidly, I don't think we were equipped yet. Jim was sort of a catalyst in so many different ways, in galvanizing the studio's confidence about doing something bold,” Parker told fans.
“In the conviction that he had about the tone that it required and the kind of amazing instinct and navigational skill he had about where we needed to go in the story... I honestly cannot picture another filmmaker doing anything even close to what was accomplished with this film. That's how significant change occurs in storytelling, in filmmaking.”
When it came down to it, Fox was persuaded by Mangold’s confidence and moviegoers’ growing interest in R-rated films. Deadpools NSFW comedy explored one spectrum of how a restricted blockbuster could fare in theaters. On the other hand, Logan’s raw violence and unapologetic hardness delved into an entirely different sphere. Both stories gripped audiences as the box office lit up with numbers for Deadpool and Logan. So, in the coming years, it won’t be surprising to see other studios streamline plans for R-rated superhero features.
After all, proof of concept has been delivered in spades. There is little to hold back studios from cashing in on the trend. Just, don’t expect every superhero flick to get a restricted rating from here on out. Not every title needs such an extreme measure, and Marvel Studios seems happy wading in the PG-13 territory for the time being.
Logan currently enjoys an 88.40 score on ComicBook.com's composite rankings, and you can view the official synopsis below.
Logan takes place in the year 2024, where mutant births have become extremely rare. The defenders of mutant kind, the X-Men, are long gone, and the only remains of them are an old and struggling Charles Xavier and a weary Logan. Logan's vaunted healing factor has slowed, and at times doesn't seem to work at all. When a young mutant needs his help, Logan has to unsheathe his claws once more. His job isn't over yet.
Logan stars Hugh Jackman (Logan), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Dafne Keen (Laura Kinney/X-23), Doris Morgado (Maria), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gabriela), and Richard E. Grant (Dr. Zander Rice). James Mangold is directing and helped on the screenplay along with Scott Frank and Michael Green.
Logan is now playing in theaters.