In a time when more and more comic book characters are scoring R-ratings for their film adaptations, Sony's Venom spin-off seemed like an obvious addition when it was first developing, since the symbiote does love his blood and gore. So when the film ended up being PG-13, many fans were understandably shocked. Still, some have been holding out hope for an additional cut on home video that would embrace more adult elements, but now director Ruben Fleischer is here to dump a bucket of cold water on that idea:
Considering how well Venom did commercially, Ruben Fleischer basically struck gold and would hate to mess with the product so many people went out to see - as he explained in an interview with LRM. The blockbuster recently broke $850 million worldwide, and will enjoy another month in Chinese theaters due to its record-breaking success. The film was quite polarizing, as the it was thrashed by a majority of critics, but has been embraced by mass audiences.
While an R-rated Venom could please some fans, Ruben Fleischer is right, in that his movie was so well received it just doesn't need to happen. If the film had bombed and the director felt he needed to show off his grittier, gorier version to redeem the franchise it might have made sense, but that is not the case that is presented here. Not to mention, an unrated Venom would probably be a lot of work on the part of the filmmaker and the various visual effects houses, given that they would need to do additional work adding in more CGI blood, for example (assuming that the "extra" footage doesn't already somehow exist).
The reason it was decided that Venom would be PG-13 was to leave room for Spider-Man to potentially share the screen with the character in the future. Writer Jeff Pinkner recently teased this distinct possibility for the sequel. However, it's unknown if that would be Tom Holland's version (which belongs to Disney's MCU making it unlikely), or a Sony Spider-Verse Spidey (maybe a live-action Miles Morales?)
Venom is the first installment in a planned Spider-Verse franchise for Sony, and following the immense success of the film everything's going according to plan. The studio might have felt that establishing Venom as an R-rated character wouldn't have worked as well with the character in that critical position, and it does make sense to start a franchise with a wider audience in mind.
But who knows what the future will hold. After Sony's Spider-Verse has found itself a few successes with their Marvel properties they might branch out to more mature comic book adaptations. For now, you can catch Venom on Digital and Blu-ray.
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