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Margot Robbie Reveals How Deadpool Helped Birds Of Prey Become An R-Rated Movie

According to Robbie, ‘Deadpool’s success showed studios that R-rated comic book films could work.

In a recent interview with Variety, Margot Robbie shed light on how the R-rated box office hit, ‘Deadpool,’ played an important role in shaping the direction of her film ‘Birds of Prey.’

Robbie revealed that she initially envisioned Harley Quinn, her character in ‘Birds of Prey,’ in a group dynamic:

“When reading Harley, I immediately identified that she works best in a group. So, I think a lot of people were saying like, ‘What about a solo Harley film?’ and I was like, ‘That’d be like watching a kid play in a playground on their own; how fun is that going to be? Populate that playground; that’s going to be fun for a character like Harley.’ I really wanted a girl gang movie; I wanted a group of female characters getting together and kicking a**.”

Her early pitches for an R-rated ‘Birds of Prey’ faced skepticism, as the idea of a successful R-rated comic book movie was untested at the time. However, ‘Deadpool’ came to her aid at the right time:

“I also produced that. It took quite a few years to put that one together, actually, because, at the time, doing an R-rated comic book film was not a sure thing. I pitched an R-rated version of ‘Birds of Prey’ before ‘Deadpool’ had come out. ‘Deadpool’ was the first big R-rated comic book success. So, after that, it was easy, but when I first pitched it, they were like, ‘You can’t do a comic book movie with an R-rating; it can’t work.’ It was like breaking the algorithm. Maybe a year later, ‘Deadpool’ trailer dropped, and I was like, ‘Well, if this movie works, do we get the R-rating?’ and they said, ‘Yes!’ And of course, ‘Deadpool’ did really well, and we got the R-rating.”

‘Deadpool’s Influence on R-Rated Movies

With the release and success of ‘Deadpool’ in 2016, there was a change in the industry’s approach to comic book movies.

‘Deadpool’ not only received critical acclaim but also achieved substantial financial success, grossing $782.6 million worldwide against a $58 million budget. It became the highest-grossing R-rated film of its time and received numerous awards and nominations.

As Robbie noted, the success of ‘Deadpool’ opened doors for Robbie’s ‘Birds of Prey’ because it showed that R-rated comic book movies could indeed be both critically and commercially successful.

The influence of ‘Deadpool’ extended beyond ‘Birds of Prey’. Its impact was seen across the industry, with other studios like Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures exploring R-rated adaptations in the wake of ‘Deadpool’s success. Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios also saw the potential for R-rated films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe following this trend shift.

‘Birds of Prey,’ released in 2020 and directed by Cathy Yan, went on to earn $205.3 million worldwide. The success of ‘Deadpool’ proved to be a catalyst, challenging the industry’s thoughts about the marketability of R-rated comic book movies and paving the way for future projects like ‘Birds of Prey’ to explore more mature themes.

You can watch the rest of Robbie’s interview below.

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