Yesterday the MPAA officially announced a PG-13 rating for Suicide Squad. This really shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone considering what producer Charles Roven had said back in March:
The Deadpool thing is important because as soon as the PG-13 rating was made official, a decent chunk of the Internet once again decided to lose it's collective mind about it:
Earlier this year, Deadpool was released by FOX with an R-rating from the MPAA and stunned the box office with $772.4 million worldwide. It's the second-highest grossing R-Rated movie domestically behind The Passion of the Christ.
For months, bloggers, critics and fans have been touting this as proof that audiences are ready for R-rated comic book movies and that they can do extremely well at the box office, despite the well-thought out and accurate belief that R-rated movies limit the potential box office gross of a movie because no one 17 or younger can flock to it legally.
The problem here of course is that people with that opinion are being lazy about it. Extremely lazy. Dangerously lazy. Annoyingly lazy.
First of all, Deadpool is an EXTREME exception to the rule for R-rated movies. It made $363 million in the United States, putting it just behind The Passion of the Christ at $370.8 million, and just ahead of American Sniper at $350.1 million. Those are the only three R-rated movies in history to gross more than $300 million at the domestic box office. The movie ahead of Deadpool is about Jesus Christ, the movie behind it is based on the true story of a real-life American soldier. $68.5 million behind that is the next action movie, The Matrix Reloaded, and it goes downhill from there.
So box office history and numbers are not on your side, people who think Suicide Squad should be rated R. We're still hearing about how Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's $329.9 million domestically and $872.2 million worldwide box office was an abject failure, so if the DC Extended Universe is in "crisis," why would they limit the box office potential of their next movie by rating it R? It makes no sense.
On top of that, Deadpool didn't succeed purely because it was rated R, it succeeded because it was a deconstructionist comic book movie, and that works when you have a deconstructionist comic book character to work with. He breaks the fourth wall, he cracks jokes about how his universe is written. Apply this to the movie now. We've had 16 years of comic book movie ascension since FOX's X-Men in 2000 and they've all followed the summer blockbuster formula to great extent, for better and worse. Now comes Deadpool, still in the same genre but making fun of those other movies and itself over the course of two hours. THAT's why people loved it. It was different, fresh and broke the fourth wall hilariously a lot. Being rated R was just an added bonus for the movie.
Then there's also the fact that apparently it's been so long that people completely forgot about the last PG-13 rated comic book movie that tons of people said COULD have been rated R:
The "Magic Trick" with the pencil and a gangster's head. Burning a man alive on top of a large pile of money. A cell phone bomb crudely wired and sewn into the stomach of a criminal. That's not even counting Two-Face and his grotesque appearance. Yes, remember how many possible reasons there were for The Dark Knight to be rated R and yet it was somehow rated PG-13? A lot of people thought WB got away with one there. By the way, it's second on the list of highest grossing comic book movies domestically ($534.9 million) behind The Avengers ($623.4 million). All-time box office? Sixth domestically and 25th worldwide.
Now, I'm not saying that Suicide Squad is going to hit a billion dollars worldwide for certain, but at least with a PG-13 rating it wouldn't be cutting itself off to that possibility assuming that the critics actually like it and rate it well for the huddled masses to follow suit and see it at the theater. PG-13 isn't a kiss of death for action and violence in a movie either. Movies like The Dark Knight, Jurassic World and all four of Marvel Studios' billion-dollar worldwide movies (The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War) all prove that. So calm down, wait for August 5th like the rest of us and remember that this movie has The Joker in it, and so far we've never seen him live action in a movie that wasn't rated PG-13. Those turned out pretty well, didn't they?