It’s no secret that Marvel movies are cleaning up at the box office: they put butts in seats, plain and simple. And this is done by generally making legitimately good films but also by following some “safe” box office practices. But it’s also easy to forget that they did this before back in 1998 with Blade.

Today, with the exception of a couple of films, the MCU films are PG-13. They feature lots of wise-cracking jokes and a beautiful palette of colors, and never take themselves too seriously. They have the perfect balance of catering to die-hard fans while appealing to the masses.

Which is probably why so many people were surprised when an R-rated Marvel film starring a certain fourth-wall breaking mercenary destroyed at the box office. But people seem to forget that an earlier Marvel franchise, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, was banking big at the box office and it wasn’t for kiddos.


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