“If they’re actually changing their mandate, if what they’re supposed to do alters, that would be sad to me because it just means less movies,” Mangold said at a post-screening panel discussion of his R-rated Marvel Comics adaptation, as reported by Deadline.
”I just hope what we end up with is going to be a positive in terms of movies.”
Mangold’s gritty and gory Logan — the X-Men franchise’s first foray into heavier superhero fare — came after the R-rated action comedy Deadpool proved itself a major hit for Fox.
Fox’s X-Men aren’t connected to Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ shared cinematic universe, populated by PG-13 brands like Captain America, Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers.
Disney’s purchase of Fox would see the X-Men and the Fantastic Four join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, allowing the franchises to integrate and potentially interact with heroes like Spider-Man and the Avengers. The deal would also give Disney control over coveted characters like Doctor Doom and Galactus.
Though there are many reasons for fans to be excited, Mangold is less enthused: he says Marvel Studios is less likely to bring R-rated takes on their characters to the big screen.
“The real thing that happens when you make a movie rated R, behind the scenes, is that the studio has to adjust to the reality that there will be no Happy Meals. There will be no action figures,” Mangold said.
“The entire merchandising, cross-pollinating side of selling the movie to children is dead before you even start. And when that’s dead, it means you’re making a grown-up movie.”
Logan — being a swan song for franchise veterans Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart — also had the freedom to carry more weight and kill its characters, something other franchise heavy-hitters can’t do.
“We’ve now so co-opted this idea that these movies are not really stories, but are merchandise entities,” Mangold noted. “You can’t kill the characters because they’re worth so much effing money.”
Despite it’s R-rating — or perhaps because of it — Logan grossed $616 million worldwide.
Mangold’s Wolverine finale is also the highest-rated X-Men film with a 93% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.