Certain characters attract a particular rating for the superhero genre. Introducing Woody Harrelson (Zombieland: Double Tap) as Carnage in Venom 2 made fans hope for a rated R movie as reports came in about the more adult rating for future installments. Unfortunately for some people, it will follow its predecessor from 2018 and be PG-13. Despite that disappointing rating, director Andy Serkis (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) weighed in about the controversial decision.
When talking to IGN on Tuesday (September 14), the director of Venom 2 — aka Venom: Let There Be Carnage — spoke about how the PG-13 rating would help reach a broader audience, but how he tried to push what that rating could be into a more violent territory, which has been showcased in the trailers that feature some gruesomely non-gory deaths.
Like the first movie, Venom 2 is meant to be more suggestive of its violence. Although you will not see heads getting chomped off people’s bodies a’la King Shark in The Suicide Squad, you can still get the point across as Andy Serkis aimed to push “the very limits” of the film’s “danger” and “darkness.” He used the example of the 2018 debut of Tom Hardy (Capone) as journalist Eddie Brock and his gooey little friend who has an appetite for human flesh as the template for the second outing.
Casting a wider net with a PG-13 rating for Venom 2 is not the biggest surprise. There are different standards for what makes an R-rated movie successful vs. a PG-13 movie, especially in this genre. With a plethora of PG-13 movies reaching the billion-dollar mark, only one R-rated movie has been able to do that, and that’s 2019’s Joker. From there, it is a significant drop-off with Deadpool and its sequel being in the $780 million ballpark, which is a huge success, but the ceiling is generally not as high compared to something that children can watch and be okay.
During the pandemic that struck the film industry hard, Venom 2 will need every advantage it can get to score big at the box office. The rating will surely assist in a major way. Also, while the average movie has been getting longer, with most being over two hours, especially for superhero movies, this is cutting out a lot of fat with a tight hour and 30 minutes, making it 22 minutes shorter than the previous outing for the symbiote. The bar is set for the film to succeed as its predecessor made $856 million off its $100 million budget.
The pandemic has hurt Venom 2 as it had shifted its release date so many times, it is hard to keep track of. It will hit theaters on October 1, so we will see soon enough how fans and critics feel about the PG-13 version of Carnage duking it out with Venom.
Venom 2, subtitled Let There Be Carnage, is directed by Andy Serkis, with Tom Hardy writing alongside Kelly Marcel (Cruella). Hardy and Woody Harrelson will be joined by supporting co-stars Stephen Graham (The Irishman), Reid Scott (Veep), and Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman).