NOTE: Box office figures are as of October 22, 2018
After only a few weeks in theaters, it’s safe to say Venom is a box office success. Sony, admittedly, hasn’t had the best luck adapting Marvel Comics for the big screen over the past decade. Sam Raimi’s watershed Spider-Man trilogy flamed out after a mediocre third installment and the Amazing Spider-Man reboot couldn’t make it past two entries. As a result, Sony agreed to a groundbreaking deal with Marvel Studios that allowed Peter Parker to become part of the MCU, but they still maintained the rights to some 900 characters that could headline their own features.
Looking to get back in the superhero movie game, Sony moved forward with a standalone Venom film starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. Some viewers were confused or concerned about how the character could work without Spider-Man, but the studio managed to pull it off. Though Venom had a rough go at it from a critical perspective, it’s in fine shape commercially.
VENOM BROKE OCTOBER BOX OFFICE RECORDS
Sony had a lot riding on Venom; as alluded to above, the studio was interested in launching a new line of comic book movies, developing films for characters like Morbius and Kraven the Hunter. Of course, the first one out of the gates needed to be a hit, and Venom certainly was that. The film rewrote the history books, grossing $80.2 million in its first three days domestically. That set a new all-time high for an October opening weekend, sailing past the $55.7 million posted by Gravity in 2013. Even with critically-acclaimed Best Picture frontrunner A Star is Born coming out on the same day, Venom proved to be the movie of choice for most viewers. Sony’s decision to pursue a PG-13 rating proved to be beneficial.
October was also an ideal window for Venom’s release. Before Eddie and his symbiote friend arrived on the scene, there had been a shortage of high-profile blockbusters on the market. While there were some box office smashes between the premieres of Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Venom, none of them were four-quadrant genre pictures. Especially after Shane Black’s The Predator failed to leave much of an impression, it was easy to see a scenario where Venomcapitalized on growing demand for a tentpole. It also faced minimal competition in the fall, with most of the other movies appealing to an entirely different target demographic. If Venom was a summer movie, things may not have gone so smoothly.
Getting out to that strong start was great, especially since Venom (like most of the box office) was dwarfed by Halloween this past weekend. To date, Venom has grossed a robust $172.3 million in the U.S., already placing in the top 10 on the 2018 charts. It will surely move up a couple of spots during the rest of its run, padding its totals before the last wave of major releases this year arrives. There isn’t another high-profile franchise installment on the horizon until Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in mid-November, though titles like Bohemian Rhapsody should draw sizable crowds in the interim.
Venom actually out-performed some other modern origin stories, including MCU Phase 1 titles like Thor and Captain America. Still, a case can be made its North American haul isn’t overly impressive (at least for now). While $172.3 million isn’t anything to be sneezed at, the movie did sport a $100 million production budget, meaning its domestic numbers alone are not enough to get it to profitability. Fortunately, the record-breaking hit is an even bigger smash internationally, where it’s done real damage.