Venom's director Ruben Fleischer promised the Tom Hardy–led film would be "darker, more violent, [and] more vicious," causing many to believe the film would be rated R. But Venom will be PG-13, which Fleischer says was the plan all along.
"We only ever talked about this movie as being PG-13," he told ComicBook.com. "What I've said in the past is that we wanted to push the violence to the hilt. The Dark Knight was always a huge reference point for me, personally, just as far as how far you could take a PG-13 because that movie they put a pen through a guy's forehead so I figure if you can do that in a PG-13 movie you can bite some heads off."
But if you still think the PG-13 film would be too soft for the bloodthirsty character, Venom's producer, Avi Arad, points to previous versions of the classic Marvel character to argue that he can still be a big bad while being suitable for younger audiences.
"To me, R is not a consideration," he said. "Can you get away with not R so that other people can see? So that younger people can see? I made an animated show. There was a lot of Venom in there. It was in '94. There's no reason to put in violence. To define what Venom is as violence. He's not. He's the lethal protector, which is a very different thing. We want to be really true to the comics. Today, in CGI and stuff, we can make Venom bite your head. But we don't have to show the head going side to side like, 'that actually tastes good.' It's irrelevant. What's relevant is that you finally understood, is that a bad guy? Yeah."