This is the first time the X-Men franchise is venturing into mature audience territory with their upcoming R-rated Wolverine film that once again focusses exclusively on its main character, Logan. James Mangold, who directed the 2009 “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, returned at the helm of the team responsible for “Logan”.

Why the fuss about an R-rating?

The X-Men franchise has never rated any of their films above PG-13, so this drastic departure from past practice is notable in that it may influence the reaction from the younger members of the series' loyal audience.

The gamble is not necessarily a bad thing, as recent Superhero flicks have upped the ante when it comes to blood, gore, and bare flesh. For movies like "Deadpool," "Kick-Ass, and "The Watchmen, the addition of more graphic content certainly paid off. In fact, audiences are beginning to expect it.

Rating not expected to hurt box office

The results from surveys taken during initial preview screenings of “Logan” were so positive that the film is now expected to rake in at least $65 million in its first weekend.

Opening in roughly 4,071 theaters in the States, including IMAX and PLF, it marks the widest R-rated release in history. With that kind of exposure, the movie may just break through the $70 million mark. The only Wolverine film that has surpassed that was the 2009 installment, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, which grossed $85 million.

The weekend will see the opening of more offerings in the form of Open Road's “Before I Fall”, Lionsgate's “The Shack” and Universal's “Get Out”, with the latter being the only serious competition for “Logan”.

“Get Out”, directed by Jordan Peele, is expected to bring in between $20 million and $30 million, which is still only half of what is projected for the R-rated Wolverine.

'Logan' takes on the world

The worldwide release of “Logan” will push the revenue well over the $100 million mark. Interestingly, China proved to be the largest consumer of the last Wolverine film in 2013, bringing in $41 million for Marvel Studios.

Also in China, a total of $121 million was grossed for 2016's “X-Men: Apocalypse”, which puts Asia's largest economy at the top of the international box office watchlist.

Critics love the Wolverine

After the world premiere of “Logan” at the Berlin Film Festival, critical reception was outstanding. Rotten Tomatoes shows an aggregated positive rating of 94%. Previews for “Logan” start all around the U.S.

at 7 PM tonight.

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