No company is quite like Disney when it comes to the place the name holds in popular culture. No other film studio has quite the same name recognition when it comes to certain types of movies. When you bring up a Disney movie, you're not only talking about a certain level of quality, but you're also talking about a particular class of feature. The phrase "Disney Movie" has a clear meaning understood by nearly everybody in a way that simply wouldn't be the case if we were talking about a "Universal movie" or a "Paramount movie"
A "Disney movie" is one suitable for all ages, frequently one designed to appeal to the entire family. Having said that, Disney has, over the years, made several movies, or acquired the ownership of movies, that are very much designed for more mature audiences. Because the name Disney represents the wider audience, the company has said in the past that those more mature films won't appear on the flagship streaming platform Disney+. And yet, rumors persist that maybe we'll see those more grown-up movies on the service at some point.
While MPAA ratings are as good a way as any to decide what products are acceptable for families and what are not, it's far from a perfect system. While I don't know if R-rated movies belong on Disney+, I think there are a few that, at the very least, would not be out of place on the service. I'm not necessarily suggesting these should be added, but I do think there's an argument to be made in support of that, as they are similar to films you can already find on Disney+, even if these are the more "grown-up" versions.
Over the last couple of months, the Marvel movies made by Fox have slowly been added to Disney+, namely the Fantastic Four films as well as most of the X-Men related projects. While none of these are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they are superhero movies based on Marvel comic book characters, so they fit perfectly with all the existing films of that type already found on Disney+. However, there are a few Fox/Marvel projects that don't seem likely to appear on Disney+ soon.
While I suppose Disney could add Once Upon a Deadpool, the PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2, both of the Deadpool films seem like long shots. They're also such separate and unique ideas, in addition to being very mature, that they don't feel like they're missing from Disney+. However, The Wolverine is being added to Disney+ in September, and there's no reason that X-Men Origins: Wolverine won't arrive at some point as well. At that point, the lack of Logan will be noticeable. Eventually one will be able to follow Hugh Jackman's entire journey as Wolverine on Disney+, but without the end.
Crimson Tide/The Films of Jerry Bruckheimer
It's hard to understate the level of success that Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have had together over the years (not counting Pearl Harbor, of course). The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was the first PG-13 film to actually have the Disney name on it, and Bruckheimer also produced the two National Treasure films for the studio. However, beyond that, the accomplished producer made a collection of movies for Disney's Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone labels. Great films like Con Air, The Rock and Crimson Tide are all, technically speaking, Disney films.
I'm using [Crimson Tide](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrimsonTide(film) here because it was the first "Bruckheimer/Disney action movie" and due to the action and violence, since it's between submarines more than men, being less visceral than the others. But honestly, while these are all R-rated movies for good reasons, they're also pretty straight forward action films and only different from Bruckheimer's PG-13 Disney movies by a few degrees.
Sylvester Stallone's Judge Dredd is not a good movie. I would never try and argue that, but it is ultimately a comic book action movie, largely in the same vein as many of the comic book action movies that you can already find on Disney+. Judge Dredd was rated R, but the filmmakers wanted the movie to be PG-13, and so this movie is pretty close to the border. The language is, by comparison to most of the other films on this list, incredibly tame, and while there is certainly violence, it's not all that bloody either.
If this movie had been made 10 years later, the filmmakers would have probably used some digital effects to clean up the blood and received the PG-13 rating they wanted. That wasn't possible at the time, but one even wonders if the film would even be rated R if it were released today as is.
Good Morning Vietnam
Good Morning Vietnam contains one of Robin Williams' greatest roles, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. On paper, the film is simply a "based on a true story" tale of a radio DJ trying to navigate the complicated world of the Vietnam War. It's not that different from other, similar films, some of which have been made by Disney. The only reason this one is R-rated is that Robin Williams never met a swear word he didn't like.
If there had been a desire to make this a more family-friendly movie, it could have been done, and likely without drastically changing the content that's there. It's a powerful film, and while the language can be strong, it's not about the language. There are certainly other Disney movies that deal with the realities of war and other mature subjects, and Good Morning Vietnam would fit well with the rest of them.
Good Will Hunting
Of course, if we want to talk about language, we should talk about Good Will Hunting. Made by Miramax during the Disney years, and earning Robin Williams the Academy Award that Good Morning Vietnam did not, Good Will Hunting has a couple suggestions of sex and a bit of physical violence, but likely the only real reason the film was given an R rating was that it catalogs over 150 F-bombs.
Beyond the fact that the Boston guys all talk like they're from Boston, it's a quality dramatic film with great performances and a happy ending. I'm not saying this one should be made available on the kids profile, but with the proper supervision, this is a story that the whole family can at least appreciate.
The dark side of the "family-friendly" label is that there's a feeling that movies like that are only for kids or that they're not interesting or challenging enough for older audiences. While Disney+ subscriber numbers certainly show us that, whatever we call it, there's an audience for Disney's films, there are movies that could potentially appeal to an older audience, and a mature younger audience, that could add a little of what some might feel is missing from Disney+ without making it feel like the service is something other than what it's meant to be.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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