Back in the day, being box office poison was a bad thing. But the folks at Sony Pictures were more than happy to inject the box office this weekend with a little Venom.
Answering pent-up demand from fans who hadn’t seen a superhero flick in, oh, months, Spider-Man’s longtime nemesis-turned-antihero shrugged off scathing reviews and barreled to a weekend win in record-setting fashion. Venom gobbled up an estimated $80 million in North America—the highest October opening ever, according to Box Office Mojo. (2013’s Gravity had been the previous record-holder with a comparatively paltry $55.7 million.) Venom added another $125.2 million overseas, too, which pushes its worldwide take to $205.2 million. Spider-Man? Who needs Spider-Man?
But Venom wasn’t the only film that showed some teeth this weekend.
A Star is Born—the fourth version of this clearly timeless tragic tale—roared into second place with a $41.3 million opening, about $10 million better than most prognosticators guessed. Add in the $1.35 million in the couch-cushion change it earned before the weekend even began, and Star has already banked $42.6 million. Those aren’t Venom-like numbers, of course, but it’s still the 10th-biggest October opening on the books.
We can’t say what the future holds for Bradley Cooper’s Oscarbait opus, of course. But for now, Star is whistling a surprisingly optimistic tune.
A handful of holdovers filled the rest of the weekend’s top five. Smallfoot, Warner Bros.’ sweet animated movie, stomped into third with $14.9 million. Night School, last week’s champ, slid all the way to fourth place with $12.3 million. The House With a Clock in Its Walls, now in its third week, continues to tick along, closing out the top five with $7.3 million.
As well as Venom did this weekend, it may have a hard time holding to first place. Three new releases—including early awards darling in First Man and Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween—will try to knock the Symbiote off its lofty perch. Venom may discover that the box office sometimes bites back.