A slimy alien symbiote and a pop star on the rise are heating up the box office this weekend.
Sony’s Spider-Man-adjacent superhero movie Venom is on track to sell an estimated $80 million in tickets in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, topping the box office and dethroning Gravity ($55.8 million) as the highest-opening October film ever. Meanwhile, Warner Bros’. music-driven romantic drama A Star Is Born is also off to a strong start, taking in an estimated $42.6 million (including select early screenings).
The two films are powering the biggest October weekend on the books, according to ComScore, with an estimated $174.5 million. The previous high-water mark of $151.5 million was set in 2015, led by The Martian.
Heading into the weekend, Venom was expected to earn about $55 million to $70 million. Its robust opening should come as welcome news for Sony, which is trying to to build an interconnected movie universe with characters licensed from Marvel Comics (others include Silver Sable, Black Cat, and Morbius). Venom cost about $100 million to produce, and it will collect an estimated $125.2 million in international markets this weekend.
Based on the titular Spider-Man villain (but not related to last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming), Venom stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who becomes bonded to an extraterrestrial life form that grants him extraordinary powers and has a taste for human flesh. Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directed, and the cast also includes Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate. Critics panned the movie, but audiences gave it a B-plus CinemaScore.
The weekend’s No. 2 film, A Star Is Born, is pleasing both critics and moviegoers: It’s rated 91 percent “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes and has an A CinemaScore. In the wake of a buzzy premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in August, the movie is widely regarded as a serious Oscar contender with mass appeal. It cost about $40 million to make and was projected to open in the $30 million to $35 million range. Overseas, the film will take in about $14 million this weekend.
Bradley Cooper makes his directing debut on the fourth (or fifth) incarnation of a timeless Hollywood tale, which this time centers on a hard-living country music star (played by Cooper) who mentors and falls for a talented young singer-songwriter (Lady Gaga).
Rounding out the top five this weekend are Warner Bros’. animated movie Smallfoot, with about $14.9 million; Universal’s comedy Night School, with about $12.3 million; and Universal’s kid-friendly fantasy The House With a Clock in Its Walls, with about $7.3 million.
In limited release, Fox’s critically acclaimed drama The Hate U Give, based on Angie Thomas’ novel about a black teen who witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend, is on track to earn $500,000 in 36 theaters (a per-screen average of $13,889).
George Tillman Jr. directed the film, which stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, and Russell Hornsby. The script was written by Audrey Wells, who died Thursday at 58, after a long battle with cancer.
Overall box office is up 9.2 percent year-to-date. See the Oct. 5-7 figures below.
1. Venom — $80 million
2. A Star Is Born — $23 million
3. Smallfoot — $14.9 million
4. Night School — $12.3 million
5. The House With a Clock in Its Walls — $7.3 million
6. A Simple Favor — $3.4 million
7. The Nun — $2.6 million
8. Hell Fest — $2.075 million
9. Crazy Rich Asians — $2.06 million
10. Met Opera: Aida (2018) — $1.2 million