When the family-focused Walt Disney Company moved to acquire 20th Century Fox, many wondered if the integration of Marvel properties would have one particular casualty: the R-rated nature of Deadpool. In other words, it won't be watered down for a younger audience, so you can expect the franchise to keep its 15 (or higher) certification going forward.
Well, on a recent earnings call, the CEO of Disney Bob Iger assured investors that Disney plans on keeping Deadpool rated R in the United States, and that R-rated movies (and films rated at least 15 in the UK) will continue to be a part of the company's plan.
“We’re going to continue in that business,” Iger said according to Variety. Iger explained that to differentiate between R-rated movies and more family-friendly fair the company will “carefully brand” those films. Meaning, they are unlikely to say “Disney” at the beginning of them. Which, makes sense. Disney owns American sports channel ESPN but there’s no castle in front of Monday Night Football. ESPN is its own brand, and Fox may continue to be its own brand as well. At least for movies not aimed at kids.
Iger has alluded to this in the past. Way back in 2017, he answered a similar question by saying “We think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.” But today’s assertion was much more definitive.
It seems possible the fact Once Upon a Deadpool, the recut of Deadpool 2 with a PG-13 rating in the US (but hilariously still kept a '15' certificate over here), underperformed at the box office played a role in this. If that film had brought in a whole new audience for a character, maybe Disney would’ve considered taming him down. But, alas, the merc gets to keep his mouth.