The Fantastic Four working with the Avengers! The Wolverine clashing with the Hulk! That one scene from Jabba’s Palace (you know the one, VHS kids) finally in full HD! Geeks have a lot to hope for with the idea of Disney buying Fox’s movie assets. But one man is raising a valid concern, and he’s exactly the right person to bring it up.
Talking during a recent panel, Logan director James Mangold talked about the potential deal, which may be arriving sooner than we think.
“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,” he said. “I just hope what we end up with is going to be positive in terms of movies.”
Mangold’s Logan came hot on the heels of Tim Miller’s, two of the first big R-rated superhero movies, and two big performers for both Fox itself and for R-rated movies in general. That’s where Mangold’s concern lies. Marvel’s wheelhouse sits square in the middle of the PG-13 rating. They’re a little sexy, a little violent, but not enough to actually do anything interesting with either of those.
“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.”
I don’t want to see every Marvel movie go R-rated, but Logan and Deadpool were two examples of exactly the type of movie that should go R-rated. Marvel has its share of dark characters who operate on the bloodier side of things. Disney hasn’t gone there yet, and it’s hard to say if they would be willing to. Marvel movies are a multi-billion dollar cash-cow for the company that is most associated with kid-friendly content, and going for a hard R would go against that.
I hope Mangold’s concern is off-base. Certainly, Disney wouldn’t go back on Deadpool, as that’s an established, huge success. But future R-rated superhero films? Anything’s possible.