Throughout the film's production process, rumors indicated that Sony's Venom would shoot for an R-rating. However, the movie ended up receiving a PG-13 rating from the MPAA, with some speculating potential crossovers with Spider-Man played a major role in Sony's choice to pursue that rating. Now, executive producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach have explained an R-rated Venom was never even on the table.
"To me, R is not a consideration," executive producer Avi Arad told ComicBook. "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."
"There isn't some phantom version of the movie," Tolmach added. "Everyone is asking us that. Is there an R-rated cut sitting there? There isn't. We came into this production and the development of the movie wanting to make a movie that was true to Venom, true to the comics, and true to the character, but at the same time is a movie that 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds can see... That was always the goal."
Director Ruben Fleischer also confirmed in the same interview that the production "only ever talked about this movie as being PG13" and reiterated that the film would push the limits' boundaries.
Arad's statement seems to indicate that Sony won't attempt to make an R-rated Venom film going forward, so it's unlikely that any of the three prospective films featuring Tom Hardy as the character will receive that rating. Tolmach's and Fleischer's comments also seem to indicate that an R-rated cut of the film isn't on the table.
Debuting in theaters on October 5, Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate,Woody Harrelson, Sope Aluko, Scott Deckert, Marcella Bragio, Michelle Lee, Mac Brandt, Christian Convery, Sam Medina, and Ron Cephas Jones.