[UPDATE: Deadpool co-writer Rhett Reese has weighed in on the film’s potential rating.]
The Internet rejoiced just a couple of days ago when 20th Century Fox confirmed that the long in-developent Deadpool movie would finally be hitting theaters in February 2016. The project had been in the works ever since Ryan Reynolds first appeared as the Merc with the Mouth in the much-maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine and is at long last becoming a reality – a notion that excited comic fans and character creator Rob Liefeld alike.
During San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Deadpool test footage leaked to the Web and served as the perfect teaser trailer, with many believing that it nailed the character’s trademark sarcastic humor and violence with great gusto. It illustrated why this could be the vehicle for Reynolds to launch his career comeback and sold just about all who saw it that the film is something they would like to see.
Given the character’s nature, it’s been widely assumed that a Deadpool adaptation would be rated R, which would allow the filmmakers to fully embrace all of the comic’s staples without any limits. Earlier reports indicated that the script by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick stayed true to the spirit of Deadpool, and the newly established February debut date lent credence to the theory that Fox would go outside the box with this particular superhero movie (perhaps a lower-budgeted R picture)
However, according to a new rumor, that may not be the case. On an episode of the Meet the Movie Press podcast, Schmoes Know‘s Mark Reilly stated that he was told from Deadpool director Tim Miller that the reason the film got the green light was because the screenplay was retooled to obtain the coveted (by studio executive$) PG-13 rating.
Read his quote:
“They figured out how to make it PG-13. And therefore ‘not lose its soul’ – and that’s a quote – of the script so that they can make it.”
There’s a lot to take away from just that brief statement. First of all, from the studio’s perspective, it makes (financial) sense to target a PG-13 rating. That opens the film to a broader demographic, allowing more people to see it and buy tickets. The Deadpool character has risen to popularity in the last handful of years, but a big studio picture with him as the lead can still be considered somewhat of a risk, leading to Fox looking for ways to increase its commercial appeal.
UPDATE: Reese, via his Twitter account, has weighed in on the matter of Deadpool‘s potential rating:
UPDATE 2 (April 1 2015): Ryan Reynolds confirms Deadpool rating with THIS hilarious video.
The most important part of Reilly’s quote is that the script still maintains its “soul.” Some may argue that the character warrants a hard R rating, but if Miller truly feels that it still captures the spirit of Wade Wilson, then there’s not too much to worry about – yet. As our editors have said on the Screen Rant Underground podcast, as long as the creative people behind these films do the characters justice, fans should be happy with the final product.
Even if it’s true that Deadpool will be forced to settle with a PG-13 rating, there’s no reason for fans to grab their pitchforks and angrily march on Fox’s front yard. Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy, we’ve already seen how a second-tier comic book movie can showcase irreverent humor while keeping the action bits manageable for a “lesser” rating to phenomenal success. It’s also important to keep in mind that several recent PG-13 genre films, such as The Dark Knight and Skyfall, are arguably just as “adult” as their R-rated counterparts.
If this rumor comes to fruition, it looks like Deadpool won’t be full of blood and guts, but it should still give audiences a faithful interpretation of the character they love. Are you a fan of this compromise or would you rather the film go all the way? Let us know in the comments below.
Deadpool will be in theaters February 12, 2016.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.