This may come as a shock, but there were R-rated comic book movie adaptations well before the runaway success of Fox’s Deadpool. But now that the Ryan Reynolds film has turned in a record-breaking box office performance, studios will undoubtedly be looking for the next property they can slap an R rating on. As our own Adam Chitwood cautioned, these studios must be careful not to take the wrong message from Deadpool’s success: It’s not just the mature rating that audiences are asking for, they’re asking for an original film presented in a unique way. That’s where Deadpool really succeeded.
And yet there will be studios and audiences alike who don’t quite understand this. We’ll get more Judge Dredd from studios, while the superior Dredd will go woefully unwatched by moviegoers. We’ll get another version of Spawn that seems to have confused even that character’s creator. For every Deadpool, we’ll get a Watchmen, Constantine, or Punisher that doesn’t quite reach critical mass. There will probably be another Barb Wire-type disaster. (“Bomb Queen”, anyone?) All of these films have an R rating and an underperforming box office in common, but history will likely repeat itself. With that in mind, here are a few unique properties that could be worthy of having their mature subject matter adapted, but only with an R rating.