Although it has been widely reported over the last year or so that Sony’s Venom movie will likely be aiming for an R-rating, we’ve now learned that it will probably be rated PG-13 after all. Sorry to ruin your day.
According to Variety, executives at Sony Pictures believe that Venom should push the limits of the PG-13 rating without crossing over into R-rated territory. This is because they are hoping to introduce Spider-Man, a noted family-friendly character, into future Spider-Verse films, and feel that if Venom carries an R-rating, it would lower the chances of the two characters appearing together onscreen. If Spider-Man ever does appear in a Spider-Verse film, he probably won’t be played by Tom Holland, as the Spider-Verse will be a separate continuity from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sony own the film rights to around 900 Marvel characters, which is more than enough for their own cinematic universe.
This news comes as a huge slap in the face to fans who were delighted by to hear that Venom would likely be R-rated, and Lord knows the world already has enough PG-13 comic book movies. The overwhelming success of Logan and the Deadpool series proves that R-rated superhero films can still be huge hits and probably even attract some viewers who would otherwise not be interested, so Venom being rated PG-13 would be a terrible road to go down.
Similarly, one of the reasons why the Spider-Verse (or Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters, as it’s apparently supposed to be called) seemed so appealing is because it would offer an adult alternative to the constant stream of teen-friendly superhero fare coming from other studios, so it would be a horrible idea for Sony to destroy the franchise’s unique selling point. Venom’s marketing campaign has also played up the horror elements, so a PG-13 would also give the impression that Sony were misleading their viewers, which would also put the studio in an awkward position.
Venom, which is directed by Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, and stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, and Riz Ahmed. We’ve still got a few weeks until the film opens in wide release on October 5, which should be plenty of time for Sony to see the light and allow an R-rating.