When Deadpool hit theaters in February of 2016, it was the first R-rated comic book movie to become a smash hit at the box office. The 20th Century Fox film starring Ryan Reynolds hauled in a record-breaking $132 million in its opening weekend on its way to three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide in its theatrical run.
Immediately, the speculation began about more comic book movies earning R-ratings, allowing for more freedom with violence, sexual content, and harsh language. It wasn't long before the same studio behind Deadpool revealed that Hugh Jackman's final effort as his famous Wolverine character from the X-Men franchise in Logan would have the same MPAA rating as Deadpool when it hit theaters.
Speaking to Logan director James Mangold at a press junket for Logan in New York City, ComicBook.com learned the director's perspective on how Deadpool's unexpected success influenced the R-rating for his new film. As it would turn out, Logan was considering the extra liberties prior to Deadpool's release.
"Two things happened," Mangold said. "We were already down the road of 'R' before Deadpool had been released. I think that they did know, the studio, they felt that they had a real success even though it hadn't been released yet that they had something people would be really excited to see. But, I think, you have to give all the studios credit, but particularly Fox, in the sense that they were aware, acutely aware, that these bloated $200 million aren't quite creating the sensation they were five or six years ago and you get into a kind of arms race with spending more, casting more, louder, faster, more, louder, faster, more... But at some point, I can only speak for myself and there are some really good ones that come out, but I find my eyes rolling up in my head even as my ears and eyes are going blown out with amazing visuals and sounds, I find myself just overloading."
The R-rating was always an element of the type of movie Mangold wanted to make for his and Jackman's finale with the character.
"I swore if I was gonna do another film in this arena myself, that I wanted to do a film that was my kind of movie, meaning more as if I took these characters from the X-Men universe and put them in Walk the Line, or 3:10 to Yuma, or Girl Interrupted, and made a film of mine with them as opposed to transporting myself into their world," Mangold said.
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Logan hits theaters March 3, 2017.