Ever since Bryan Singer’s X-Men burst onto the scene and revitalized a genre many people thought the disastrous Batman & Robin had killed forever, comic book blockbusters have continually proven themselves to be the most popular and bankable movies in the industry, and a full 20 years later, the bubble shows absolutely no signs of bursting.
To generate the biggest box office numbers, in theory, the project in question must appeal to the widest possible audience, which is why the overwhelming majority of superhero films are rated PG-13. Adult-orientated offerings are a much more viable proposition than they’ve ever been, but success is far from a sure thing, as Warner Bros. have discovered at both ends of the spectrum recently.
Four of the six highest-grossing R-rated movies ever made are comic book adaptations released in the last four years alone, with Joker way out in front after rocketing to over a billion dollars globally. However, female-driven DCEU spinoff Birds of Prey tanked at the beginning of 2020 after barely scraping past the $200 million barrier.
In fact, the pic doesn’t even make the Top 10 when it comes to the most commercially successful R-rated comic book efforts, with Joker being followed by Fox’s Deadpool duology and Logan, while the rest of the list comprises of the two entries in the 300 and Kingsman franchises, Wanted and Constantine.
According to insider Daniel Richtman, though, that isn’t enough to put Warner Bros. off the idea completely, because the studio are reportedly planning more dark and R-rated installments in the DCEU, although he offers no further details on what projects these may be. We know that the Snyder Cut of Justice League and The Suicide Squad are definitely heading down that route, but it’ll be interesting to see what else they’ve got cooked up for the future.