With Shane Black's latest film The Nice Guys, set to hit theatres this week, a new interview with the writer-director has revealed how the huge commercial success of Fox's Deadpool proved to be a game-changing moment, paving the way for a new R-rated Predator movie.
Speaking in an interview with Screen Rant, Black discussed his passion for profanity-laden, ultra-violent movies, and how the recent trend in R-rated movies which perform extremely well at the box office is changing the landscape for action movies. Even after the success of 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service and Mad Max: Fury Road, it took the success of an R-rated Marvel movie to shake up the studios.
According to Black, "Before Deadpool everyone was saying exactly the opposite. Its only been recently that this sort of thing has become more palatable to the decision makers."
Black has been adamant that a new Predator movie would only work with the more restrictive age rating:
I made it a condition of directing The Predator that it has to be the same rating as the first one, which was R. We probably could have gotten more money to do it as PG-13. But I actually think that although that seems like good logic, youre shooting yourself in the foot. I dont think the fans want a PG-13 Predator.
Elaborating on the luxury of being able to approach a large event movie such as The Predator with the freedom and scope afforded by an R-rating, Black concedes that the huge box office success of Iron Man 3 - which raked in $1.3 billion worldwide - afforded him the kind of special treatment reserved for only a handful of filmmakers:
"Iron Man 3 bought me a lot. It opened up a few doors. Like, Youd presided over or at least seen what its like to make a summer tent pole. You understand what its like to show up everyday to work and its just green screen everywhere We got to join a club thats fairly exclusive. And it was probably there for us anyway because its Marvel: Its the Billion Dollar Club. And once you do that,people take you more seriously and as someone who might concoct a similarly effective summer movie.
Black also recently opened up about the new costume design for Predator. In an interview with Coming Soon, he discussed the process of tweaking designs to make them fun and different:
"There have been a lot of changes to Stans design over the years. These different Predator movies have done different things. Ultimately its not about design to me, its about the story you want to tell."
Aware of the kind of backlash that such decision-making can lead to, Black cited an example from personal experience to highlight the kind of controversies he's used to navigating:
"There are people who are always going to agonize over Iron Man, what color his suit is. Maybe this weapon does a new thing, but if the story is not good I dont give a sh*t what color the suit is. In The Predator were doing a lot of upgrades to what you would consider to be the traditional Predator technology and look, but hopefully the story is whats going to drag people in, not just the attention to the minutiae."
With the last R-rated Predator movie, 2010's Predators, proving to be a another disappointing entry into the franchise, let's hope that Black is able to deliver on his promise and inject the series with a much-needed dose of over-the-top violence.