Don’t expect gratuitous violence or excessive f-bombs in “The Batman.” The newest Caped Crusader story, starring Robert Pattinson as Gotham City’s enigmatic protector, has landed a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association, despite speculation the Warner Bros. movie could be rated R.
The film has been rated PG-13 for “strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material,” according to the MPA.
Sources close to the film say “The Batman,” which is grounded more in reality than recent DC adaptations, was able to nab a PG-13 rather than an R-rating because it doesn’t have excessive foul language or nudity (sorry, Pattinson stans!), and though intense action scenes abound, it’s more along the lines of exploding buildings and wrecked cars than merciless stabbings or shooting sprees. With that in mind, the less-provisional rating isn’t a surprise since Christopher Nolan’s exceedingly grim “Dark Knight” trilogy were christened as PG-13.
Still, there had been internal chatter on the Warner Bros. lot that Pattinson’s vigilante could be the first R-rated Batman adaptation due to its dark and gritty tone. In the past, Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich has expressed his desire to differentiate DC from Disney’s comparatively family-friendly Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has succeeded (more critically than commercially speaking) in doing so with R-rated DC properties such as James Gunn’s gonzo and gory “The Suicide Squad” reboot, Joaquin Phoenix’s mad “Joker” and “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” featuring a deranged performance by Margot Robbie.
From a box office perspective, a PG-13 rating could be the difference between tens of millions of dollars. Though director Todd Phillip’s disturbing R-rated vision for “Joker” didn’t prevent that movie from becoming insanely profitable, restricting to moviegoers under the age of 17 likely contributed to box office shortcomings for “The Suicide Squad” and “Birds of Prey.” During the pandemic, younger males have been fueling the wobbly recovery of the domestic box office, so limiting younger audience members could be perceived as unwise.
Directed by Matt Reeves, “The Batman” centers on Bruce Wayne’s earlier days of fighting crime. In his pursuit of justice, Batman uncovers corruption in Gotham City while pursuing the Riddler, a serial killer portrayed by Paul Dano. The movie also stars Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Andy Serkis as Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth, Colin Farrell as the rising crime-lord known as Penguin, and Jeffrey Wright as Gotham City’s police chief James Gordon. “The Batman” is scheduled to release in theaters on March 4.