As a film about a murderous alien symbiote who bites the heads off criminals when he’s in the best of moods, Venom doesn’t sound like the most family-friendly of comic book flicks, so you can imagine the disappointment of many fans when they heard that Eddie Brock’s first standalone feature would be saddled with a PG-13 rating. The news led to some speculation that the goriest parts of Sony’s movie had been left out of the final cut, and a recent statement from Tom Hardy about 30 to 40 minutes of missing footage only added fuel to the theory.
Producer Avi Arad, however, has been insisting for weeks that an R-rating was never really on the table, and in an interview with Collider, his colleague Matt Tolmach backed him up:
“The answer to your question is, we always intended to make a PG-13 movie. There’s a narrative out there that there’s some R rated cut line somewhere.”
When the interviewer said that they themselves never thought such a cut to exist, Tolmach stressed his point further, while arguing that by pushing the limits of a PG-13, Venom was able to appeal to older and younger filmgoers alike:
“No, we’ve heard that today. Which is cool, for people to have theories. We always wanted to literally take it as far as you could go. In England, I think we’re a 15 plus. That’s how we saw this that, there’s a crazy, rabid fan base of young people, that love it. When I say young people, teenagers, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, who love Venom, and then there’s a crazy rabid fan base of old people like us, who love the character. So, how do you serve both? You go as hard as you can, at PG 13.”
In its efforts to please everyone, Venom certainly didn’t please the critics, but the approach is likely a key reason behind the movie’s record-breaking box office success. So far, the feature has reportedly brought in an impressive $378 million worldwide, with estimates placing the film’s total global gross at more than $550 million. At this rate, the flick even seems on course to surpass Justice League’s figure of $657.9 million, despite having a fraction of the budget.
Needless to say, a Venom sequel seems all but inevitable at this point, and for better or worse, Arad has already made his intentions clear to make this next installment another PG-13 affair.