3 Characters Disney Should Consider for Its First R-Rated Comic Book Film

More than 61,000 people attended Denver Comic Con earlier this month, and odds are that more than 130,000 will attend San Diego Comic Con next month. Hardcore fans like these are why Iron Man 3 is a billion-dollar box-office success and The Walking Dead ended as the top-rated TV show of the fall season. They're looking for edgier comics-sourced fare on the big screen.

Would family-friendly Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) ever make an R-rated comic-book film? The opportunity is too big to pass up, says Fool contributor Tim Beyers in the following video.

Consider Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) success with Christopher Nolan's Batman series. The Dark Knight may very well be rated PG-13, but only the clinically unconscious would call it a kids' film. Heath Ledger's Joker is as dark a character as you'll find in a comic-book film, and that one earned a billion at the box office when doing so was a rarity. Overall, Nolan's Batman series earned Warner more than $2.4 billion in global box-office receipts.

Marvel, meanwhile, has plenty of characters that could star in a darker comic-book film. The Punisher is an obvious choice, Tim says, though Lions Gate's (NYSE: LGF  ) two tries with films based on the vigilante did poorly enough that the studio returned the movie rights to Disney.

Marvel should put the character to use soon. Or choose another. Hundreds of characters in the Marvel universe are violent enough to star in an R-rated film; Disney is leaving money on the table by sticking with lighter theater fare.

Interestingly, The House of Mouse isn't so prudish in other areas. Next week, Activision Blizzard releases to stores a particularly violent video game featuring the mutant assassin Deadpool. An R-rated comic book film would be no different, as well as an appreciated catalyst for investors expecting Disney to use all of Marvel's assets to boost profits.

Which characters would you choose if Disney were to greenlight an R-rated comic book film? Tim Beyers singles out two more besides The Punisher in the following video. Please watch, and then let us know which hard-boiled comic-book storyline you think would play best at the box office.

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Read/Post Comments (27) | Recommend This Article (8)

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  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 11:06 AM, hmsthehood wrote:

    I don't see Moonknight and Daredevil and Punisher were both flops. Why risk it again?

    1. Deadpool

    2. Venom vs Carnage

    3. Vengeance

    4. Morbius

    But then I ask myself. Marvel is killing right now at the box office. I don't think they will change a thing.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 11:42 AM, ultimateclimber wrote:

    Deadpool would be good, but there is a problem. Fox owns Deadpool, as well as many other characters that are associated with the x-men. So as much as I hate to say it, he's out.

    Venom, specifically the Flash verson would be solid, but again, Sony Owns Venom, so Marvel can't do him either.

    Moonknight is the best choice. That guy is so underrated and underutilized. They need to do him. A daredevil reboot is so needed, I think the rights have returned to Marvel after the 2004 mistake so they should give that a try absolutely. The Punisher seems to be undoable. War Zone was the best effort but the critics and the box office were not too kind. I think he needs like a starz/hbo treatment tv series to be the most effective.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 11:48 AM, ramz6983 wrote:

    WHAT!?! Punisher "undoable?" No way in hell that 'War Zone' was as close to a good Punisher movie that can be.... the prior movie with Thomas Jane was good, the acting could have used to some work, but that movie what the best Punisher up-to-date. Thomas Jane is the best Punisher so far... looks physically, is in shape, and has that dark emotion that the Punisher has.

    Bring him back with some decent writers, directors, producers and there's you R-Rated film....

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 12:06 PM, Alericc wrote:

    If you want to see how a Punisher movie should be made go watch Thomas Janes short on YouTube called Doing Laundry. But we all know Hollywood and Disney especially would ruin it since they think they can rewrite it better and it shows with the flops they have produced in the past few years.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 12:22 PM, joekenorer wrote:

    LOBO

    /thread

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 12:22 PM, Easttexas9 wrote:

    Sleeparound Beauty.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 12:33 PM, masterimmortal wrote:

    Daredevil should be their next TV property, not film. The vigilante and legal aspects would work wonderfully for a weekly story. They could bring in all kinds of C and D list villains and heroes into the courtroom.

    Not everything needs to be a big budget movie.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 1:04 PM, tedlazar wrote:

    They should consider DragonMan The Adventures Of Luke Starr

    www.dragonman.tv

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 1:05 PM, AllenElliott wrote:

    This is just some reporter trying to sit in the seat of God and council like God without the knowledge of unconditional love the nature of God.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 1:22 PM, warhorse03826 wrote:

    Cloak & Dagger.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 2:00 PM, bones3180 wrote:

    Tim said the Punisher has been on screen twice. He's forgetting the early 90's classic version with Dolph Lundgren. Might have only been in theaters for a full weekend, but it was in there and should not be forgotten.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 3:23 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Alericc,

    >>If you want to see how a Punisher movie should be made go watch Thomas Janes short on YouTube called Doing Laundry.

    Actually, it's called "Dirty Laundry" and has 3.8 million views as of this writing. NFSW or kids, I think. (Pretty violent, which is exactly what you expect from The Punisher.)

    Interesting tidbit: Thomas Jane and his team funded the video on their own and released in time for last year's San Diego Comic-Con. *Very* smart marketing.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 3:24 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @joekenorer,

    >>LOBO

    Whoops. Lobo is a DC character.

    Thanks for writing and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 3:26 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @AllenElliott,

    >>This is just some reporter trying to sit in the seat of God and council like God without the knowledge of unconditional love the nature of God.

    Or maybe a fan who is also an interested investor commenting on something worth watching?

    Thanks for writing and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 3:29 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @bones3180,

    >>Tim said the Punisher has been on screen twice. He's forgetting the early 90's classic version with Dolph Lundgren.

    Great call. Yes, thank you. More on Dolph's appearance as The Punisher can be found here:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098141/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 5:17 PM, wheelermatt wrote:

    warhorse03826.......great choice with Cloak & Dagger.......Marvel needs to do another series with them.

    Power Man & Iron Fist would also be a good choice for a movie.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 7:11 PM, jsmith60450 wrote:

    Moon knight isn't a bad idea. I would personally like to see black pather done. I think that you can create a marvel universe that runs parallel with the ironman avengers stuff but darker. Black panther, moon knight, daredevil, punisher, someone mentioned cloak and dagger, and possibly a darker spiderman with that big game hunter guy. Don't be afraid to change it up either. Kingpin could be black. What Disney needs is a more ethnic group. That is why I start with black panther. There was a mutant limited series fallen angels that might have some potential if only to mine for characters. Black cat would be useful as well. Disney could really go crazy and make a movie around a villain. That would be interesting. Regardless they need to step up with the writing and directing. The reboot of spiderman was bad. Even miss stone in thigh highs couldn't redeem it.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 7:12 PM, mattoneal wrote:

    1. Spawn remake

    2.Pitt or The Pitt

    3.Lobo although he's probably my first pick because his character is so rich.

    Now off to my local comic shop!

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 9:48 PM, masterimmortal wrote:

    @mattoneal,

    You go to a comic shop, but don't know that Spawn, Pitt, and Lobo all don't belong to Marvel?

    Turn in your geek card immediately.

  • Report this Comment On June 22, 2013, at 11:59 PM, hmsthehood wrote:

    I just checked out that You Tube - Dirty Laundry with Thomas Janes

    Wow. A movie along that style would be awesome.

    I only wish Punisher would rebooted alone those lines.

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 12:06 AM, TheDarkestCorner wrote:

    Moon knight would be rad. I mean, I'd go see it, but I don't think it would do well at the box office.

    My list: Luke Cage ( Power Man )

    Journey into Mystery: young Loki vs

    Mephisto

    Tales of the Zombie (1970's large format comic character )

    Tim, what's the coolest comic you own?

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 12:35 AM, Nomadder wrote:

    If their were to make another Daredevil film, and be willing to make it R rated, the Frank Miller grim n' gritty run would be excellent source material.

    Otherwise, I think masterimmortal has the right idea. People NEVER get tired of courtroom drama television. Superheroes are huge, right now. This is a brilliant idea because it seems so obvious if you think about it. If Disney is lucky, someone over there is thinking along these lines.

    Honestly though, I hold out little hope for an R-rated Disney-Marvel film.

    That's three strikes against it already.

    1. Hollywood. The industry has always been biased against giving big budgets to R rated films, regardless of subject matter. The general consensus is that they don't do well as PG-13 movies...which is why you get so many natural R subjects being neutered into PG-13 films.

    2. Disney.

    3. Comics. To say that the comic book industry is still recovering from the Comic Book Code is both accurate and misleading. It would be better to say that the modern comics industry has been *shaped* by the code. And so too has the general public's expectations of comics been shaped. There are darker comics, but I wonder how forgiving the folks that took their kids to The Avengers would be of bloody spandex.

    If it's going to happen, it will need to be a lower-budget effort, probably with a lesser known character.

    Also, seeing as everyone knows Disney is Marvel now, they can't exactly throw it out there under a subsidiary studio, so... I don't know. It would be nice, whatever actually does or doesn't come about.

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 8:36 AM, lm1b2 wrote:

    Walt Disney must be turning over in his grave,ever since he died Disney has been selling out Walts principles for the almighty dollar,Disney use to stand for good wholesome family entertainment !

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 9:56 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Great comments everyone! A robust discussion, as usual. I've got to grab a bite but I'll be back soon to weigh in where I can.

    In the meantime, @TheDarkestCorner, I've a hard time picking the "coolest" book out of the 2,400-plus I have here in the basement office. Can I just list a few instead?

    1. Iron Man 182. An odd pick, I know, but also one of my two favorite covers of all time. "In the morning, Tony Stark will be sober, or dead." A homeless Stark deals with his alcoholism in an issue written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Luke McDonnell. Great stuff, and a little reminiscent of Mr. O'Neil's work on Green Lantern/Green Arrow.

    2. Uncanny X-Men 137. Signed by both Chris Claremont and John Byrne, but at different times. A fun 'get' for me and one of my favorite series.

    3. Daredevil 181. Got Frank Miller to sign my copy 20 years ago, at the 1993 San Diego Comic Con. More than any other, this is the book that taught me comics could tell serious, adult stories.

    That's a sampling, anyway. A copy of Pacific Comics' Groo #1 that includes a signed sketch from Sergio Aragones could also make the list. He appeared at the local comics shop I frequented as a kid in Southern California. Hoping to see him again at this year's SDCC.

    Hope that helps and more soon,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 11:00 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @masterimmortal,

    >>Daredevil should be their next TV property, not film. The vigilante and legal aspects would work wonderfully for a weekly story. They could bring in all kinds of C and D list villains and heroes into the courtroom.

    Love this idea. A lot.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 11:03 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @jsmith60450,

    Thanks for writing.

    >> I would personally like to see black pather done. I think that you can create a marvel universe that runs parallel with the ironman avengers stuff but darker.

    Me too. Have you seen the Black Panther animated series BET ran a while back? Darker and *really* interesting. Could be fodder for a live-action film.

    Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On June 23, 2013, at 11:24 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Nomader,

    >>Honestly though, I hold out little hope for an R-rated Disney-Marvel film.

    You could be right. I think this summer offers us a chance to measure how big R-rated comic book films can be. Two I'm personally looking forward to:

    1. Red 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcVkavITnAI

    2. Kick-Ass 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU8EgsdOy4U

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

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