Despite Robert Pattinson’s bone-chilling stare and Gotham City’s perennially dark atmosphere, don’t expect the forthcoming Batman adaptation to get too NSFW. Matt Reeves’ The Batman has earned a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association after predictions that it would end up rated R.
Variety points out the MPA rated The Batman PG-13 for “strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.” Sources close to the film say that its foul language is minimal, and the violent scenes tend to focus more on things like car crashes and explosions.
Speculation that The Batman would be rated R was largely based around Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich’s vision to further distinguish DC films from Disney’s Marvel franchise, which tends to lean more family-friendly. Previous big-screen DC adaptations like The Suicide Squad, Joker, and Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) all wound up with an R rating, as well.
Though the Joaquin Phoenix-starring Joker was an exception, a PG-13 rating over an R rating can often significantly hike up box office numbers. It’s possible that Warner Bros. opted for a PG-13 rating for The Batman in an effort to combat dwindling ticket sales in the pandemic’s wake. That doesn’t mean The Batman won’t be disturbing; Christopher Nolan’s iconic The Dark Knight, which famously marked Heath Ledger’s last film role, was also only rated PG-13 and is one of the most twisted tales of superhero cinema to date.
Considering its stacked cast including Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, and Colin Farrell — and the presumed box office success of superhero movies at large — The Batman is likely to fare well no matter the circumstances when it hits theaters on March 4th. Revisit the latest trailer below.