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‘Venom’ Director Reveals How He Avoided R Rating, Says He Shot Film to Be PG-13 to Not ‘Exclude Any Fans’

Ruben Fleischer is having trouble understanding why fans are disappointed the Sony tentpole is being released with a PG-13 rating.




Sony’s “Venom” is opening in theaters nationwide this month with a PG-13 rating, which has come as a shock to many fans, given director Ruben Fleischer’s initial teases that the movie would be the “most violent” Marvel release to date. Fans expected “Venom” to be rated R, especially since R-rated comic book films like “Deadpool” and “Logan” have been box office hits, but Fleischer now says he always sought to make a PG-13 “Venom.”

”I don’t feel like we compromise much,” Fleischer recently told Polygon about the rating, admitting he is baffled over the fact everyone expected the film to be rated R. “I’m not sure why [people thought that], other than maybe just a bloodthirst for Venom.”

Read More: Tom Hardy Reacts to ‘Venom’ PG-13 Rating, Says He’s ‘More Than Happy to Stand Alone’ When Asked About MCU Crossover

”We didn’t want to make a movie that excluded any fans,” he continued. “Venom fans actually are of all ages, and so we wanted to be inclusive to all the fans that were excited about the movie.”

Fleischer said the plan was always to have “Venom” be rated PG-13 but to “push the violence to the hilt.” The director’s comments are similar to what Tom Hardy told MTV last week. The actor says the film could “fulcrum into R-Rated and fulcrum into youth or children” and complimented Fleischer for pushing the film toward “gratuitous ultra-violence” without sacrificing the appeal towards younger audiences.

Riz Ahmed, Ruben Fleischer, Director, and Tom Hardy attend Sony Pictures presents Venom at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con.Sony Pictures Presentation at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, San Diego, USA - 20 July 2018

Riz Ahmed, Ruben Fleischer, and Tom Hardy

Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

In order to make sure “Venom” was rated PG-13, Fleischer told Polygon he shot the more violent aspects of the film, such as a few head-bites and a scene involving a symbiote’s massacre of a Chinese village, from multiple angles as to ensure he could put together an edit that did not tip over into R-rated territory. The director said he was influenced by Christopher Nolan in pushing the PG-13 boundary without going over into R.

“‘The Dark Knight’ does such a great job of delivering an intense, action-packed film that didn’t pull any punches,” Fleischer said.

Fleischer also worked closely with the MPAA to figure out the ways he could maximize his PG-13 rating. Rather than cutting out all of the gore in the film, for instance, Fleischer worked with his post-production team to tweak the viscosity and color of the blood. The difference between bright red blood and dark soaked-through blood helped Fleischer maintain a PG-13 rating.

Sony releases “Venom” nationwide October 5.

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