If there’s one overriding leitmotif to Sony’s efforts to market ‘Venom’, it’s the studio’s unwillingness to commit. Maybe it’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! (It’s not.) Maybe Spider-Man will show up! (If Tom Holland is anywhere near this movie, I will eat my foot.) Maybe it’ll be a violent, horror-infused, R-rated take on the superhero genre! (About that…)
Yep, they’re at it again. After months of teasing and two trailers that certainly seemed to be selling an R-rated ‘Venom’, we finally learned the film’s rating. And it’s a PG-13. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. The problem is twofold. First, if director Reuben Fleischer had made the movie he set out to make and that movie happened to get a PG-13 rating? Fair enough. As I said, while the character is well suited to an R-rating, it’s not a necessity for a good film. But by all accounts, that doesn’t seem to be the case. To the contrary, reports have indicated that Sony was pushing for the lower rating out of the (in this writer’s opinion, misguided) belief that it would facilitate potential crossovers with the Marvel Cinematic Universe down the line. And second, despite pushing for that lower rating, Sony has nonetheless stopped just this side of promoting the film as a boundary-pushing, R-rated affair. Put another way, the studio has arguably spent months making one movie as they promising fans another; all the while waiting until the last possible moment (less than a month from release) to announce the rating, which – even then -only got out when it was listed on a theater chain’s website.
So will we ever see the movie that Fleischer set out to make? The director at least seems to think we might. Asked about the possibility of an unrated home video release, Fleischer told Fandango that “I wouldn’t rule anything out. We’ll have to see where it lands, I guess, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
While anything’s possible, I wouldn’t hold my breath. While at least some of the cut material will likely end up as deleted scenes on the home video release, Sony hasn’t exactly been in the habit of releasing alternate cuts of their ‘Spider-Man’ films. And frankly, given the noncommittal nature of Fleischer’s answer and the studio’s history of stringing fans along? This is the kind of news best taken with a grain of salt.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on ‘Venom’ as it becomes available!
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, ‘Venom’ stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, and Reid Scott. The long awaited ‘Spider-Man’ spinoff is set to arrive in theaters on October 5, 2018.