Moviegoers Go Gaga Over ‘Venom’ and ‘Star Is Born’

(Pictured above: Maine Senator Susan Collins)

The month of October got off to a rousing start for the North America box office this weekend as two highly anticipated films – Sony’s Venom and Warner’s A Star Is Born– both opened to big numbers.

Thanks largely in part to the arrival of Eddie Brock and Lady Gaga, the top ten surged a mighty 72%over last year at this time when Blade Runner 2049 started its underwhelming box office run with $32 million.

Launching on 4,250 screens, Venom scored a massive $80 million. The launch for the $100 million Sony production easily flew past the previous record holder for an October opening: 2013’s Gravity with $55 million.The Marvel antihero’s arrival was also higher than the $75.8 million brought in a few months ago by Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which went on to leg it out to a solid domestic haul of $216 million.

Whether Venom manages to climb to the same level as the Ant-Man sequel remains to be seen. Unlike that Disney release, critics didn’t embrace Venom, at all. While reviews may not play the biggest role in the box office success of a comic book movie, it is somewhat crucial if said film wants to reach beyond the fan boy demographic. With a toxic 32% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 35/100 on Metacritic, Venom will have to rely on those hardcore fans – some of who gave the Tom Hardy feature a “B+” on CinemaScore- to convince others to see it.

Even if Venom slithers away in a hurry from North American movie screens, domestic box office deficits will undoubtedly be cushioned by international markets. Case in point: the $125 million Venom commanded this weekend from 58 overseas territories.

Not to be outdone by the Big V in second place was Warner’s Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga remake of A Star Is Born. The future awards contender hit the ground running with a great $41.25 million from 3,686 venues, $42.6 million once the advance showings from this past Tuesday and Wednesday are factored in.

Fueled by near-unanimous praise from the critics and public, the Bradley Cooper-directed drama is poised for a long, healthy year-end box office run. The R-rated Star Is Born received a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 88/100 on Metacritic. The public was right in line with the press on this one, giving Star an “A” on CinemaScore.

A Star Is Born also got underway in a handful of markets overseas, where it earned $14 million this weekend.

Warner’s animated comedy Smallfoot made a moderate imprint in third with an estimated $14.9 million from 4,131 theaters. Off 35%, the family feature has scored a decent $42.7 million after ten days. A domestic finale near the $70 million mark is possible. Overseas, Smallfoot has scored $32 million to date.

Despite the presence of Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, Universal’s comedy Night School is flunking out of the top five and fast. The comedy dropped a steep 55% in its second weekend on 3,019 screens, earning an estimated $12.3 million. After ten days, Night School has earned $47 million and could finish around the $65 million mark. The $29 million production has also pocketed $12 million overseas.

Rounding out the top five was another fast-fading Universal release: The House With A Clock In Its Walls. The Eli Roth-directed family flick slid 42% in its third session on 3,463 screens, earning an estimated $7.3 million. Its new totals are $55 million Stateside and an additional $24 million from overseas.

  1. A Simple Favor (Lionsgate) $3.4 million (-47%); $49 million
  2. The Nun (Warner/New Line) $2.6 million (-52%); $113 million
  3. Hell Fest (Lionsgate) $2 million (-60%); $8.8 million
  4. Crazy Rich Asians (Warner) $2 million (-50%); $169 million
  5. The Predator (Fox) $900,000 (-77%); $50 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Universal’s space drama First Man, Fox’s film noir Bad Times at the El Royale and Sony’s family fright flick Goosebumps 2. While the trio should post decent numbers in their respective releases, neither will dislodge Venom or A Star Is Born from the top spot. In fact, depending on how much Venom drops in its second weekend, A Star Is Born could work its way into the top spot.

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