Why Isn’t Venom Rated R?

Venom - Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock (Marvel and Sony Pictures)

Venom Plays Nice

Director Ruben Fleischer addressed why his upcoming Venom film did not receive an R rating. Many fans expected the antihero story to receive a more “adult” treatment in the wake of Deadpool and Logan.

Knock Knock Let The Devil In (But Only A Little)

With a face like this, you might expect some R-rated violence.

In 2016, 20th Century Fox took a risk on Deadpool. The film was the first mainstream superhero movie boasting an R rating. The end result paid off in dividends and a brand new franchise for Fox. Their follow-up, Logan, was also critically and financially successful amidst the offerings of the MCU and DCEU. So, when Sony announced their Venom movie, fans assumed the film would receive the same treatment as other, darker superhero properties and lean into its bloodier conventions. However, despite a profanity-laced tie-in song by Eminem and reports that Venom eats people’s heads, the film received a PG-13 rating.

The new rating left fans scratching their heads. At his core, Venom is an antihero, and antiheroes should have a darker side. But director Ruben Fleischer maintains Venom’s darkness is psychological rather than physical. During an interview, the director addressed fans who expected an R-rated symbiote adventure. ”We didn’t want to make a movie that excluded any fans, Venom fans actually are of all ages, and so we wanted to be inclusive to all the fans that were excited about the movie.” He also confirmed the PG-13 cut is his vision and there are no plans for an R-rated “director’s cut.” When asked about why people thought the film would receive an R rating, he stated: “I’m not sure why, other than maybe just a bloodthirst for Venom.”

Conflicting Answers

Fair enough. However, Fleischer directly stated the film would receive an R rating during a Comic-Con interview. Following their panel, Brandon Davis told Fleischer “I hope you earned an R rating. Or got away with some violence, so will we see kind of a more ruthless, more violent Venom?” Fleischer responded “That’s the plan. Well, that’s not the plan, that’s the movie.” Now, it’s no secret Venom isn’t being well received. But Fleischer’s answers sound like the studio butchered his vision. Hopefully, Fleischer’s exhaustion during press interviews interfered with his memory. Whatever happens, may we hope Fleischer returns to his excellent first film and makes Zombieland 2.

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About the author

MJ Smith

MJ Smith makes his home in California, and when not listening to Hamilton, podcasts and writes about pop culture on the internet. He loves board games, Swamp Thing, and The Wachowski's SPEED RACER.

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