This weekend not only saw the biggest October opening of all time, but it’s the biggest three-day weekend in October box office history, thanks to huge weekends from two movies, both of which exceeded expectations. With this being Columbus Day weekend, both movies should also continue to see big numbers on Monday.
Venom easily took the box-office crown. It was hard to predict how the first movie in the Sony Marvel franchise would fare. Venom is not a particularly well-known or popular character outside of comic-book circles, and his biggest appearance to date was in Sam Raimi’s critically derided Spider-Man 3. Reviews were not great (31 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but I had a feeling Venom might break-out anyway, not just because of the fan community, but because even many of the bad reviews noted that Venom was still a fun movie to watch, even if it didn’t hang together (I thought Venom the movie was OK, but “Venom” the character was outstanding). Audiences showed up for it to the tune of $80 million, smashing the October record set by Gravity with $55 million back in 2013 (The Martian fetched $54 million two years later).
Venom far exceeded expectations (studio estimates had put it closer to $55-$60 million) and with a B+ Cinemascore, it may not only stick around but follow through on the sequel teased in the post-credit sequence. With a relatively modest (for a superhero movie) price-tag of about $110 million, Venom may end up being a huge smash hit for Sony if international box-office follows suit (and it should). This is a huge win for producers Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Amy Pascal, who seem to have successfully launched Sony’s Marvel Universe.
Meanwhile, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born didn’t perform so shabbily, either, recording $43.5 million (with previews), making it the first or second highest-grossing opening weekend ever for a musical (depending on how one classifies the live-action Beauty and the Beast). There was little doubt that it would succeed after breaking out to fantastic reviews in the film festival circuit (and a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). It also possessed the star power of both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, plus a fantastic trailer and a soundtrack that’s been stuck in my head for days.
The film received an A on Cinemascore, and I can absolutely see this one legging it out to $150 million domestic through great word of mouth, plus Oscar buzz will keep it in theaters through much of awards season. It didn’t hurt, either, that both Cooper and Gaga did terrific jobs on the promotion circuit answering questions about a movie that could have elicited those dreaded “problematic” answers. (Cooper, for his part, chose mostly to let the movie speak for itself).
Beyond the top two, as I expected, Small Foot held strong in its second weekend, dropping only 40 percent, adding $14.5 million to bring its overall total to $42.4 million after 10 days. Last week’s number one film, Night School, slipped to number four, but with $11.9 million and $39 million total, the Universal film has already surpassed its $29 million production budget and is well on its way to being a hit, although it will likely fall short of the year’s top comedy, Game Night ($69 million).
The rest of the top ten were all holdovers, doing their small part in making this the biggest October weekend ever. With another $7 million, Eli Roth’s The House with the Clock in Its Walls has now earned $54 million after three weeks. A Simple Favor has quietly almost earned $50 million by adding another $3.5 million to its tally. With $2.7 million, The Nun has an outstanding $113 million, so far, plus another $225 million overseas (and, again, this movie only cost $22 million to produce).
In its eighth week, Crazy Rich Asians has been in the top ten longer than any other film on this list, and with $2.1 million it’s almost hit the $170 million mark ($169 million). With $2 million, Hell Fest is now sitting at $8.8 million after 10 days, and The Predator has now earned $49 million after adding $900,000 this weekend.
Next weekend looks to build on the massive success of this weekend with Venom and A Star is Born taking on Ryan Gosling’s First Man, which is poised to be a huge hit. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween should perform modestly, while how Drew Goddard’s Bad Times At The El Royale performs is anyone’s guess. It’s receiving good reviews and it has a great cast led by Chris Hemsworth, but it may be a tough sell in a crowded marketplace.