Venom, which currently looks so bad that it demands to be seen, appeared that it would be gunning for an R-rating, it appears that might not be the case. According to Variety, “some members of Sony’s brain trust believe that the film should push the very limits of PG-13 without crossing over into a higher rating.” The thinking appears to be that a PG-13 rating will “will give the studio greater leeway for future installments that will feature Spider-Man” as well as other members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On the one hand, that makes sound business sense. If you’re eager to sell a sequel that will feature Peter Parker (which Venom does not do), then you want to make yourself on par with the PG-13 fare as the rest of the MCU. On the other hand, you’re resting this future on a lot of “What ifs”. Venom is a dark, R-rated character, and footage shown at Comic-Con had the character biting off a person’s head. And yet now the plan is to soften the picture to a PG-13 so that if Venom is a box office hit and if Marvel Studios agrees with what Sony did with their picture and if Tom Holland is available then maybe they’ll get some MCU characters in a future installment?
That doesn’t exactly bode well for Venom on its own since the franchise is already banking on needing popular MCU characters for sequels rather than believing that the character can stand on its own. To make the obvious analogy, imagine if Deadpool had softened to a PG-13 on the off-chance that Fox and Disney could make a deal to share the character in the MCU. Does that serve Deadpool or is it a desperate play to make the franchise popular one day down the line?
Right now, Venom is shaping up to be one of 2018’s biggest disasters, and it’s not just because the “turd in the wind” line is what’s sufficing for humor in the movie.
Venom opens October 5th.