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Venom Director Doesn't Know Whether It Will Be R-Rated or PG-13

Venom director Ruben Fleischer says he isn’t sure if the Spider-Man spinoff film will ultimately receive a PG-13 or an R rating. Previous reports have suggested the film may be extreme enough to land the R, but many wonder if Sony will really allow a potential franchise-launching film to carry a rating that will restrict its audience. The film is currently projected to break box office records when it releases in October.

Fans of Venom, the Spider-Man villain known for doing some pretty gory and disgusting things, are certainly hoping the movie lands more in the R area. Starring Tom Hardy, Venom concerns a reporter named Eddie Brock who comes into contact with an alien symbiote that merges with him, giving him superpowers that only work as long as they share the same body. Recent trailers have led to much discussion about the look of Hardy’s character (not to mention Hardy’s vocal delivery), as well as the potential for Venom to deliver an experience that remains true to the violent nature of the comic books.

Related: Why Venom Being PG-13 May Actually Be A Good Thing

In a new interview with Total Film Magazine, Venom director Ruben Fleischer indicated that even he isn’t sure right now how the MPAA will rule when it comes to the movie’s rating. The director does indicate however that every attempt was made to ensure this version of Venom sticks to the comic books. Fleischer said:

"We're curious to see where it'll land. But we pushed the envelope as far as we possibly could in terms of just making it the most true to the comics version of the film that we could. He's a character that goes around biting people's heads off and eating brains. So we tried to respect that as much as we could."

Tom Hardy also weighed in on the Venom rating question, saying part of the goal with the movie is to “reach as big an audience as possible.” If Sony’s primary concern is drawing that big audience, including kids too young for a truly disturbing Venom experience, then there’s no question the studio will go for a PG-13 rating. Fleischer’s remarks about the content of Venom also indicate that he only had so much leeway in depicting the gorier aspects of the story.

Given the realities of the current franchise movie landscape, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Sony is likely leaning toward delivering a PG-13-rated Venom. Fox of course did well with its R-rated superhero movies Logan and Deadpool, but it’s important to remember that Logan was a one-off and Deadpool was a dice-roll (that wound up working well for Fox). Considering its track-record with establishing franchises, Sony is probably not in a position to roll the dice with an IP as potentially valuable as Venom.

Of course, one thing that makes Venom potentially valuable is the possibility of Spider-Man himself showing up in a sequel. But for Spider-Man to make an appearance in a future Venom film, Sony will have to play ball with Marvel Studios. The reality for Sony is that they can’t afford to go too dark with Venom, because that would limit the potential for any MCU crossovers. Ultimately, it makes very little sense for Sony to push the envelope with Venom into R-rated territory, even if keeping it PG-13 means alienating a lot of hardcore Venom fans.

Source: Total Film Magazine

Key Release Dates
  • Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
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