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Roundtable: Is it OK for Disney+ to add R-rated movies?

Disney+ has made a notable addition to its streaming library, adding the first R-rated titles on Friday. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR/WXIN) – Disney+ began streaming its first-ever R-rated content over the weekend, debuting the superhero flicks “Deadpool,” “Deadpool 2” and “Logan” on the streaming platform last Friday.

All three films, produced by 20th Century Fox, are based on characters from Marvel Comics — but they wade into much more violent and sexual territory than most Disney-produced Marvel films would dare.

“Hurry and stream your copy of Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan on @DisneyPlus starting this Friday (July 22), before someone comes to their senses and they go back in the vault forever,” the official account for the “Deadpool” film franchise tweeted in response to the news.

Previously, Disney+ had focused on family-friendly content, including only films with PG-13, PG or G ratings in its streaming library. Even some of those films, which may have included negative depictions of certain cultures or racist stereotypes, were accompanied by an additional disclaimer warning viewers of problematic content.

What do you think – should Disney+ limit its platform to friendly-family content only? Weigh in on the form below and join the conversation with our Roundtable tonight at 6p/5CT.

For instance, “The Aristocats” is preceded by an advisory because of a “racist caricature of East Asian peoples,” and “Peter Pan” got one because its portrayal of Native Americans “reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions,” the Walt Disney Company explained.

In other cases, certain content was censored — including Daryl Hannah’s nude buttocks in “Splash,” which were digitally covered up when they appeared on Disney+.

Disney+, however, began paving the way for more mature content back in March, according to Deadline, by expanding “into TV-MA/R territory by updating its existing Parental Controls in the U.S.” Along with the new parental controls, Disney+ added several Marvel series to its library, including the TV-MA-rated “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage,” among other Marvel series that were previously on Netflix, the outlet reported.

While the streaming service’s newest content might delight “Deadpool” and “Logan” fans, one group decidedly not so delighted includes the Parents Television and Media Council, which claims that Disney+ broke its “promise” to parents.

“While Disney+ points subscribers to its parental controls, the mere presence of R-rated and TV-MA rated content violates the trust and sensibilities of families,” Tim Winter, the organization’s president, said in part in a statement released Friday. “What took decades to build is now taking mere months to erase.”

The stars of “Deadpool” and “Logan,” meanwhile, had a bit of a different take.

Hugh Jackman, the star of “Logan,” posted a picture of him and “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds hugging on the set of the latter, with the caption, “Thank you @disneyplus for adding brothers-in-arms @deadpoolmovie and #Logan as the first R-Rated movies on the platform. While your choice is questionable, we’ll take it.”

Reynolds also responded on social media, sharing a comical post that suggested several other “family-friendly” Disney films — including “Bambi,” “Old Yeller” and even “The Lion King,” are much more gruesome than they might seem.

“We’re supposed to announce Logan and Deadpool will soon be the first R-Rated movies on Disney+,” Reynolds wrote. “But we all know some Disney movies should already be rated R for irreversible trauma.”


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