This is stating the obvious, but Disney doesn’t do R-rated movies. Or at least, not through the Walt Disney Pictures banner. The Mouse House has acquired many subsidiaries over the years that allowed them to produce and distribute plenty of adult-orientated fare, dating back to the founding of Touchstone Pictures in 1984, the seventeen years the company spent in charge of Miramax up until 2010, and now the freshly rebranded 20th Century Studios following the Fox takeover.
However, nothing from Disney’s major outfits like Lucasfilm, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation or Marvel Studios had ever even toyed with the idea of an R-rating before, at least until a certain Merc with a Mouth came along. Indeed, Kevin Feige has confirmed that the in-development Deadpool 3 will be the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first canonical R-rated entry, and probably the last if recent chatter is any indication.
Insider Daniel Richtman is claiming that Disney tried to convince Feige to make the threequel PG-13, which is causing friction between Ryan Reynolds and the studio, with speculation rife regarding alleged behind the scenes disagreements. If anything, though, it feels like Feige’s the one that’s been reluctant to forge ahead on the project, given how long it’s taken to enter active development, and there’ve no doubt been plenty of heated conversations between the Chief Creative Officer, the leading man and the Disney brass to even get to this point.
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Disney have 20th Century Studios to develop R-rated movies, while they’ve also got Hulu for TV-MA content, but Feige going to such lengths to explain why Deadpool 3 will be an outlier makes it sound like he’s not sold on the idea at all, and you can understand why from his perspective.
It presents a logistical nightmare to parachute a self-aware and foul-mouthed superhero into the mythology he’s so carefully constructed, not to mention that it could alienate a huge part of the MCU’s family audience in the process. That being said, the first two installments raked in over $1.5 billion at the box office, so it’s not like Wade Wilson was ever going to be left on the table when there’s so much money still to be made.