‘Venom’ had a lot of bad buzz going into the weekend, with rumors of creative differences between director Ruben Fleischer and star Tom Hardy, as well as with the studio over the rating. (It wound up PG-13, rather than R.) Hardy reportedly wanted the film to be funnier, while Fleischer wanted a more serious film. Then there’s the fact that Spider-Man isn’t in it. But it doesn’t seem that any bad buzz impacted moviegoers.
The budget is reportedly over $100 million, but less than $120M. With an opening weekend of $80M, it looks like ‘Venom’ will easily wind up in the black. This is a record for the first weekend of October, besting 2013’s ‘Gravity‘ which opened with $55.7M. Combined, all movies this weekend generated approximately $170.6M, another October record.
Critics hated ‘Venom’, with a 32% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were much more forgiving, rating it 4 stars via PostTrak and B+ through CinemaScore. B+ is the same grade that viewers gave ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, ‘Justice League’, ‘Spider-Man 3’ and ‘Suicide Squad’.
Despite its success, don’t expect ‘Venom’ to garner any awards. On the flip side, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, ‘A Star is Born’ is earning awards buzz and a 90% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. It took in $42.6M, but because it mainly appeals to older females, which is not a demographic that rushes out to see a movie on opening weekend, it is expected to play well over the next few weeks, similar to last year’s ‘The Greatest Showman’, which never hit #1 but made a ton of money over time. Those that turned out for this movie, loved it, giving it an A average CinemaScore. And despite the fact that this film was marketed to older moviegoers, those under 25, which only made up 14% of the audience, loved it the most, giving it an A+.
- Venom (Sony) – $80M
- A Star Is Born (Warner Brothers) – $42.6M
- Smallfoot (Warner Brothers) – $14.9M
- Night School (Universal) – $12.2M
- The House with a Clock in its Walls (Amblin/Universal) – $7.2M
Next weekend will be interesting. ‘Goosebumps 2’ opens and now that ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ has been out for almost a month, that could draw the family Halloween crowd. Will it be strong enough to top ‘Venom’? That remains to be seen.
Otherwise, the weekend will belong to award contenders. There’s the Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling, ‘First Man’, the family addiction drama ‘Beautiful Boy’ starring Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet, and gritty crime thriller ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ which features an all-star cast including Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Jeff Bridges.
Check back to see who comes out on top.