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Between Venom frightening innocents and taking a lethal approach to enforcing justice, his standalone movie looked like a worthy candidate for earning an R-rating, but rather than following in the footsteps of Deadpool and Logan, Venom was ultimately rated PG-13. This is comfortable territory for a comic book adaptation, and as we've seen with movies like The Dark Knight, you can still get away with a fair amount of mature content under this rating. Eddie Brock himself, Tom Hardy, is among the fans of Venom being rated PG-13, as he believes there's still plenty of room for the movie to be gritty and violent. When asked if there's been a particular question that fans have asked him the most about Venom, Hardy responded:
Is it going to be R-Rated? That's the big question and the answers been answered, isn't it?... It's a PG-13 in the states, but to be fair the thing can fulcrum into R-Rated. It can fulcrum into youth or children. My littlest ones, they watch Spider-Man and Venom quite comfortably, and Venom toys appear and LEGO appear... So it's not like they're scared by him, and at the same time there's a lot in the real estate that you can actually imbue with a complete sense of gratuitous violence if you really wanted to, and I think you've got the right people for that job if you want to push it. Of course that's where I'd love to go with it.
Tom Hardy makes a valid point. While it certainly would have been interesting to see Venom tackled through an R-rated, more adult oriented-lens, by taking the PG-13 route, this affords the movie the opportunity to draw in a wider viewing audience. As Hardy noted in his interview with MTV, although Venom is one of the scarier-looking Marvel Comics characters, younger fans know all about him because of how prominent he is in the Spider-Man mythology. Obviously the Venom movie is handling the character with a firmer hand compared to how he'd be depicted in a cartoon, but as Hardy sees it, PG-13 provides a nice balance between appealing to the adult fans and still giving the kids some things to enjoy. That said, maybe it'd be a good idea to keep the particularly young Spider-Man/Venom enthusiasts home from this one given all the heads being bitten off and talk of turds rolling in the wind.
Officially, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated Venom PG-13 "for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language." But unofficially, it was reported that Sony was pushing towards such a rating so that the door was open for Venom and Spider-Man crossing paths in the future. It's no secret that the Web-Slinger has no role to play in Venom's origin story this time around, and given how busy Tom Holland's Spidey is keeping in the MCU, who's to say it such a crossover will ever happen. In any case, Sony is keeping its options open, and it will be interesting to see if the other Sony Spider-Man spinoffs will also embark down the PG-13 path, or if one of them (like Morbius, for instance) will be afforded the opportunity to delve into the R realm.
Venom hits theaters on October 5, and if you're curious about what else the rest of this year has in store theatrically, look through our 2018 release schedule.