The Batman Director Matt Reeves Says Warner Bros. Wanted PG-13 Rating

After confirming there's no R-rated Reeves Cut of The Batman, director Matt Reeves reveals studio Warner Bros. had one request: keep Batman PG-13. Officially rated PG-13 for "strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material," The Batman puts the Dark Knight detective (Robert Pattinson) on the trail of sadistic serial killer The Riddler (Paul Dano). Described by Warners as an "edgy, action-packed thriller," Reeves says in a new interview he wanted The Batman to "push the boundaries of what you could do in a PG-13 movie."

Speaking to Collider, Reeves said Warner Bros. was "incredibly supportive" and "loved, from the inception," the pitch about a rebooted Batverse with a younger caped crusader. 

"Once I wanted to put it into this world and that I wanted to do a detective story noir and that whole thing, they were very responsive. They were very excited about that," Reeves said. "I said from the beginning, to do a standalone Batman film, you really have to [do something different]. There's a long line of great movies. And so, the idea that you can come and just do another Batman film, it has to be a great Batman film. You have to set out to do something that feels distinctive and different and definitive."

He continued, "They embraced it the whole time. There was never a moment where they said to me, 'Are you sure? Let's not.' They really leaned into everything, and I've had the support to do exact ... I mean, I have to say, this movie is exactly the movie I wanted it to be, and they have supported me all the way through it." 

Though Warners permitted R-rated Batman spinoff Joker and DCEU entries Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, as well as R-rated director's cuts of Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman and Justice League, the studio wanted a more audience-friendly — and box office-friendly — rating for its first standalone Batman movie since 2012's The Dark Knight Rises

"One thing they did do, which was my intention from the beginning, was they said, 'Look, it's important to us that the movie be PG-13. We want to make sure that we can get this ... It's a Batman movie, and we're investing so much in it,'" Reeves said. "And I was like, 'Well, in the [Planet of the] Apes movies, I tried to sort of find that balance as well.' They were meant to be sort of ... They were obviously spectacle and grand entertainment, but there was a level of intensity."

With The Batman, Reeves added, "I felt like in that same way, I knew that we could push the boundaries of what you could do in a PG-13 movie and still deliver everything I wanted to do."

Starring Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Paul Dano as Edward Nashton/the Riddler, Jeffrey Wright as GCPD's James Gordon, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham D.A. Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as mayoral candidate Bella Reál, Andy Serkis as Alfred, and Colin Farrell as Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot, The Batman opens exclusively in theaters on March 4.