‘Venom’ Was Apparently Never Going To Be R-Rated

Come on, playa. After months of teasing fans that the upcoming Venom movie would be R-rated, Sony Pictures is now utterly confused at the negative reaction to its PG-13 rating. And they don’t seem to understand why fans ever thought it was going to be.

First up is producer Avi Arad, who goes on to explain why ‘R’ was never even a factor in their minds…

“To me, R is not a consideration,” Arad said (h/t Comicbook.com). “Can you get away with not R so that other people can see? So that younger people can see? I made an animated show. There was a lot of Venom in there. It was in ’94. There’s no reason to put in violence. To define what Venom is as violence. He’s not. He’s the lethal protector, which is a very different thing. We want to be really true to the comics. Today, in CGI and stuff, we can make Venom bite your head. But we don’t have to show the head going side to side like, ‘that actually tastes good.’ It’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that you finally understood, is that a bad guy? Yeah.”

Uh, okay. So it wasn’t ever a consideration, right? That’s the same line of nonsense peddled by the director, Ruben Fleischer, who is the one who most steered fans towards the idea of both an R-rated movie and, failing that, an unrated cut to be released later. He seems completely confused in his statement to Polygon

“I’m not sure why [people assumed an R-rating], other than maybe just a bloodthirst for Venom.”

Going back to Comicbook.com, Fleischer continues to make it sound as if he had nothing to do with misplaced fan expectations…

“We only ever talked about this movie as being PG-13,” Fleischer said. “What I’ve said in the past is that we wanted to push the violence to the hilt. ‘The Dark Knight’ was always a huge reference point for me, personally, just as far as how far you could take a PG-13 because that movie they put a pen through a guy’s forehead so I figure if you can do that in a PG-13 movie you can bite some heads off.”

Oh, I don’t know about that, Ruben. There’s this interview you gave in July when you said this in response to a question about the film being R-rated…

“That’s the plan. It is not the plan, that’s the movie. Our movie wants to honor the comics as close as we can tonally. In the comics, he bites people’s heads off and eats brains. It would be weird to make a movie with Venom if he wasn’t doing that. “

I don’t really give a shit one way or another as long as the movie is good. Do I think Venom should be R-rated based on the character’s extreme violent tendencies? Yep, but it can be perfectly fine without it. But don’t steer us into expecting one thing, giving us something completely different, and then blame us for being disappointed. That’s an easy way to piss off the audience you’re desperately hoping supports your franchise-launching movie. And Sony wonders why there’s so much negative buzz surrounding Venom already.

As for whether there may be a more violent cut of out there somewhere? Producer Matt Tolmach shoots those hopes down down…

“There isn’t some phantom version of the movie. Everyone is asking us that. Is there an R-rated cut sitting there? There isn’t. We came into this production and the development of the movie wanting to make a movie that was true to Venom, true to the comics, and true to the character, but at the same time is a movie that 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds can see. We had to push right up against it. We’re 15+ in England. It’s not like we just wanted to make a family film. We wanted to push it as hard as we could, but also to make it accessible. That was always the goal.”

Venom devours theaters on October 5th.


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