It was a brutal battle at the box office as I expected with Sony’s “Venom” and Warner Bros. “A Star is Born” both premiering to kick off the month of October after a record September. Both films had two very different stories going into the weekend with “Venom” getting a lot of early negative buzz from critics and fans worried if the PG-13 version of the traditionally violent character would disappoint. On the other end “A Star is Born” received acclaim and early Oscar buzz while fans of Lady Gaga turned out to try and sabotage “Venom” in online reviews to earn the Warner Bros. remake a top spot opening. So who took the crown? Let’s take a look in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.
By the end of the day Sunday it wasn’t just a victory for Sony but a record breaking victory at that as “Venom” ruled the roost taking in around $80 million in 4,250 locations shattering expectations as well as the previous October box office opening record of $55.7 million set by 2013’s “Gravity”. “Venom” overcame negative reviews as crowds gave it decent word of mouth as a shameless campy superhero flick. The film is meant to be the first in Sony’s “Spider-Verse” utilizing Spider-Man characters without the webslinger himself. “Venom” also delivered overseas earning $125.2 million in 58 markets setting an October record globally as well with a $205 million global box office take. There are questions about whether or not the film will have much holdover success given its poor reviews but “Venom” has already topped its reported $100 million budget (not counting promotions) in overseas numbers alone and could be projected to level out at a little over $210 million domestically. You can read my review of “Venom” here.
Coming in strong in second was “A Star is Born” which continues a great year for Warner Bros. in 2018. The third remake of the classic story that first hit the big screen in the 30s, “A Star is Born” received great critical acclaim and audience support on its way to over $41 million in its opening weekend which would have been more than enough to top the chart is “Venom” hadn’t surprised with almost double that number. The film also benefited from early viewings totaling over a million dollars on Tuesday and Wednesday. “A Star is Born” earned $14 million overseas and is projected for a long theatrical life as an awards season contender. You can read my review here.
Elsewhere on the chart Warner Bros. celebrated a fine weekend outside of the success of “A Star is Born”. The studio’s latest animated offering “Smallfoot” showed great staying power thanks in no small part to being the only animated feature in theaters currently. “Smallfoot” landed in third adding $14 million to its numbers while Warner Bros. also held the seventh spot with “The Nun” and the eighth spot with “Crazy Rich Asians”. Last week’s number one, Universal’s “Night School”, took a hard fall to fourth adding $12 million to its total while the studio also held the fifth spot with “The House With a Clock in its Walls”. Lionsgate had two entries in the top ten with “A Simple Favor” in sixth and “Hell Fest” in ninth and finally Fox’s “The Predator” rounded out the top ten. The most notable limited release was “The Hate You Give” which earned $512,035 in only 36 theaters. The film is slated to go nationwide later this month.
Looking at this upcoming weekend we have a few huge offerings to look forward from three different studios. Sony will offer up “Goosebumps 2: The Haunted Halloween” while Fox brings “Bad Times at the El Royale”. The one to really watch is “First Man”, a Neal Armstrong biopick from Universal starring Ryan Gosling and directed by the acclaimed Damien Chazelle who also led Gosling in “La La Land” which earned Chazelle a Best Director Oscar. “First Man” is already being touted as THE film of the year and a potential best picture contender by some critics. It’s a hard call but I do believe it will come down to “First Man” and “Bad Times” for the top spot. Both look like solid pictures that could bring curious audiences to theaters to check out the buzz for themselves. Which one will win in the end? Come back next week to find out.