Venom: Let There Be Carnage shocked the entertainment industry this weekend with an unpredicted $90.1 million dollar feast, leading one of the most profitable October weekends in history, pandemic or not.
The Sony film (in association with Marvel Studios) opened anywhere from $25 to $30 million over expectations, beating the original film’s opening gross ($80.3), Black Widow’s pandemic-era opening record, and also established itself as the second best opening weekend ever for the month of October, trailing only the Joker (which did $96.2M in 2019).
The big win certainly dispels some of the “movie theaters are dead” rhetoric, and with a number of tentpole pictures on the way such as James Bond, Dune, Eternals, The Matrix: Resurrections, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, theaters owners and movie studio executives may be dancing in the aisles very soon.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage did ok with critics with a current score of 59% on Rotten Tomatoes and also received solid scores from ticket buyer who rated the film on Rotten Tomatoes (which gave the sequel an 86% fresh rating). It will be interesting to see how much Venom 2 declines next week with the arrival of the long-delayed James Bond film, No Time to Die, arriving next Friday, but with a start like this, that slippery symbiote may just have a long run in theaters.
As far as other newcomers this week, The Adams Family 2 did well with $18 million (which was good enough for a second place finish), despite being available on-demand for $19.99 for a 48 hours rental, bringing kids and families back to the theater. The Many Saints of Newark did much less business (to the tune of $5 million) due to its availability for free on HBO Max.
The former box office champ Shang-Chi was overwhelmed by Venom and his friends, but still managed $5.8 million for a total domestic gross of $206 million.
Can Venom challenge Shang-Chi for the 2021 box office title? Be sure to come back next week when Bond throws his hat into the ring in what is shaping up to be a competitive and profitable battle at the box office for the rest of the calendar year!