Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, who is writing and directing the cinematic reboot of the character, is leaning hard into the dark, graphic content that made the Image Comics title such a runaway success upon its 1992 debut. This is in sharp contrast to the superhero films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Films universe (referred to as the DCEU) which try to cater to wider audiences, keeping MPAA ratings at a traditional PG-13.
"With it being R, we've now seen a couple of examples of that. Deadpool and Logan seem to be," McFarlane said in an interview with ComicBook. "I'm hoping that our category succeeds. So that it will broaden the thought process of the studio executives to go, 'Oh, it doesn't have to be something onscreen that sells a bunch of toys and T-shirts. It can just be a something that's a little more gritty.'"
Last year, Blumhouse Productions, the studio behind Get Out and the upcoming Halloween revival, announced they would produce an R-rated Spawn adaptation written and directed by Todd McFarlane. After a lengthy casting process, Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx officially signed on to play Al Simmons/Spawn in the reboot. Now with its lead, McFarlane promises the film will greatly differ from the competition at Marvel and DC.
"Everything is gritty. There are no arch villains. There's no headquarters. There are no big ray guns. There are none of some of the trappings that we're used to in some of the other big movies," McFarlane explained, observing the film will be "at the far end of R" with its content.
"I knew that if I was gonna try and, basically, put myself into the director's chair, I have to make it as risk-free as possible," McFarlane added regarding the film's smaller production budget. "The way to do it risk-free from my perspective, is to do this type movie that's based on the formula of creepy movies. And, again, that's a big departure. But, look at one that just happened a couple weeks ago, which is A Quiet Place. That's a $17 million budget that opened it up to 50 million dollars."
The Spawn reboot currently has no official release date but is expected to kick off production soon with a rumored budget of $10-12 million.