When Deadpool opens in theaters on Feb. 12, it will be the rare superhero movie in which the titular hero spouts profanity with glee, in which women and men are nude and have sex, and in which acts of violence result in conspicuous splatters of blood. In other words, it’s rated R.
Of the 24 major superhero movies released over the last five years, just two — 2012's Dredd and 2013's Kick-Ass 2 — have also earned an R rating from the MPAA. The rest have lived within the largely bloodless, sexless, and f-bomb-free realm of the PG-13 rating. And Deadpool's star and producer Ryan Reynolds thinks that is a shame.
"I hope that they make other [superhero] films that are rated R," Reynolds said at a BuzzFeed Brews event on Feb. 6 in San Francisco. "I'd love to see an X-Men movie that's rated R. I'd love to see something in the Avengers [rated R]. I'd love to see all that. I think it's fun."
Reynolds' co-star T.J. Miller also shared Reynolds' sentiment. "It's time that we stopped doing the same PG-13 formula for the superhero comic book movie over and over and over," he said.
The reason studios don't make R-rated films as often is simple economics: With a more restricted audience, they generally make much less money than a PG-13 film. (Dread earned just $13.4 million, and Kick-Ass 2 just $28.8 million, in the U.S. and Canada.) Reynolds credited 20th Century Fox, which backed Deadpool, with honoring his determination to keep to the anarchic and profane spirit of the Deadpool comic books. But he noted that the studio also significantly limited their production budget.
There is a flip-side to a lower budget, however: greater creative freedom.
"The studio said, 'OK, listen, you guys can go, you can make your movie. Make it anyway you want,'" said Reynolds. "So the ceiling gets a little bit lower in terms of the financial cap, but at the same time, you get way more flexibility and freedom. We feel like we got away with something, because we still put the exact movie we would have put on the screen if we had another $55 or $100 million in our budget. We just would have been way higher through the whole movie."