Rumour: Venom movie to be R-rated; launch new shared movie universe for Sony

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If you’re a movie fan (which I assume you are if you’re reading this), then I hope you don’t suffer from arachnophobia. It would seem that Hollywood has gotten a little spidery lately. Marvel is leading the way with the brand new trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming expected to swing in very soon, but there’s a whole lot of other Spider-related news also *cough* hitting the web.

Two weeks ago we heard that Sony are revisiting some of the plans they had before scrapping their Amazing Spider-Man franchise and striking an unprecedented co-producing deal with Marvel to bring Tom Holland’s young Spider-Man/Peter Parker into the MCU. The studio were apparently developing a new standalone Venom film, something which originally had been in development a few years back. At the time there was no mention of the specifics of this movie, other than it was being penned by Alien: Covenant’s Dante Harper and had a October 5, 2018 release date.

More recently we also heard that another one of those old plans, which at the time had just been known as “Secret Female Spin-off Project” was also finally coming to life in the form of a movie focusing on female Spider-Man villains Black Cat and Sable. Once again though, there was not much info other than screenwriter (in this case, Thor: Ragnarok’s Chris Yost), leaving many to wonder if and how these movies would be integrated into Marvel’s new Spider-Man movies. That answer is apparently a very violent “No” though, according to Collider.

Their sources indicate that Venom is actually going to be the start of a new, completely separate movie universe for Sony. So too the Black Cat and Sable movie won’t be spinning off from anything but rather be a standalone movie in this new universe. Collider goes on to explain that Venom is currently being pitched at being R-rated, which actually fits in perfectly with the dark and violent tone of the comic book villain/anti-hero (and after the mega-successes of Deadpool and Logan is suddenly very enticing). This Venom is also reportedly going to have a relatively modest budget compared with the huge price tags of Marc Webb’s two Amazing Spider-Man movies, or even Sam Raimi’s early 2000s Spider-Man trilogy (the much-despised third movie of which actually featured a rather crappy version of Venom). Collider does go on to say though that “things could still change between now and late 2018—especially once a director signs on and has his or her own vision”, so who knows how this will end up.

As to why Sony would be doing this instead of working with Marvel more, I guess it all comes down to business. Sony still technically own the rights to entire Spider-Man library which is reportedly 900 characters strong. If they can find a way to build a profitable movie universe with those characters, but still exclude Spider-Man – which would involve sharing the profits with Marvel – then they can probably hear the ka-chings already. And according to Collider that is seemingly the case here as these developments are coming exclusively from Sony Chairman Tom Rothman with Marvel’s Kevin Feige not involved at all.

Personally, I just can’t see how they can develop a movie around Venom – which in the comics is an alien symbiote that attaches to Spider-Man – with no Spidey without substantially tweaking the character’s origin. With Venom already having gone through one bungled adaptation, would Sony really risk another? What do you guys think?

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Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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