As you know, Deadpool hit theaters this weekend and already proved that R-rated superhero movies can make money. Does this mean we’re seeing the start of a modern age of raunchier and NSFW offerings from the genre? While we wait to see if writer-producer Simon Kinberg’s assertions are correct in that an R-rated X-Force could work, that a Spawn movie we’ve been hearing about will likely get the same rating.
Speaking to ComicBook.com from Toy Fair 2016, writer Todd McFarlane offered an update on the film, saying he’s finished with the script and the film will be a “hard R.”
I’d put it more into the horror/suspense/supernatural genre. If you take the movie The Departed meets Paranormal Activity, something like that…In the background, there’s this thing moving around, this boogeyman. That boogeyman just happens to be something that you and I, intellectually, know is Spawn. Will he look like he did in the first movie? No. Will he have a supervillain he fights? No. He’s going to be the specter, the ghost.
The most successful superhero movies based on comics are proven to be ones that embrace the source material and/or becoming its own entity. Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, relatively unknown properties to mainstream audiences, became hits for staying true to the characters and merging the comic book genre with that of sci-fi and heist films. Deadpool, too, did comic book fans proud, and its success is reflected in its early box office dominance.
Spawn — at least, the version McFarlane is describing — could earn similar success by embracing horror. It’s not just a matter of pleasing fans; studios have to be able to appeal to both diehards and casual comic book movie lovers, and an “R-rated superhero horror movie” is definitely something neither have seen before but is something both audiences could get behind.