SUNDAY AM FINAL after Saturday 11:44 PM update: Sony is calling the weekend on Venom at an $80M opening after a strong Saturday of $26.6M, -19% from Friday, a percent ease that’s in the Friday-to-Saturday sphere of Guardians of the Galaxy (-18%), and a tad steeper than Justice League (-15%). Sony is projecting a $20.7M Sunday.
At this level, Venom reps Sony’s seventh-best domestic opening of all-time, behind Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M), Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117M), Spider-Man ($114.8M), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($91.6M), Skyfall ($88.3M), and Spider-Man 2 ($88.1M).
That speaks volumes about why Venom is so high-up on the studio’s domestic B.O. opener list: In Marvel comic book canon and even in Spider-Man 3, the black-clad, fanged anti-hero is a spinoff of Spider-Man. In the wake of Sony teaming with Disney’s Marvel on Homecoming, the Culver City studio is careful to distinguish its own Marvel properties. They don’t consider Venom a Spider-Man spinoff or Spider-Man related. But seriously, let’s call Venom‘s success for what it is: Moviegoers aren’t flocking to this pic because it’s original IP. It’s because they’re connecting it to Spider-Man (even though he’s never mentioned or alluded to in the movie). A Fandango survey of 1,000 moviegoers indicated prior to the weekend that 93% were looking forward to seeing a different kind of Marvel anti-hero, while 90% couldn’t wait for a future Venom/Spider-Man match-up (even though the former property isn’t part of Disney’s MCU) while 80% were going because they were Tom Hardy fans. The film also has an anti-establishment sensibility, which is an attribute in the current political environment, and some in the industry believe fans took to that.
Sony was hoping that Venom would launch a greater cinematic universe of characters seen in the Spider-Man verse, and well, mission accomplished this weekend with this very solid start. In the wings is a Morbius movie, with Daniel Espinosa directing and Jared Leto as the title vampire and Spider-Man villain, as well as projects centering around Kraven the Hunter, Silk, Jackpot, Nightwatch, Black Cat and Silver (the latter two now poised to get their own separate films versus the originally planned teaming).
Imax pulled in $8.4M stateside from 408 screens, making Venom the large-format exhibitor’s second-highest grossing opening ever for October. Says Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster, “What a weekend for the business! The expansion of the marketplace was incredible and shows we can continue to thrive when the titles are right. Venom served the core Marvel and Imax fans, and Star Is Born played to the romantic, dreamers, and cinefiles.”
Venom dropped a teaser on YouTube back in February which clocked 19M views, even though it didn’t show the monstrous protagonist. He was later added in subsequent trailers, starting at CinemaCon back in March, with a social media universe that exploded to close to 755M across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube views, with a high viral trailer rate of 36 to 1. Eminem, who performs the title song, has shared plenty of Venom materials to his 132M fans, making him the pic’s social media star ahead of Hardy’s 3.3M followers. A San Diego Comic-Con splash marked Hardy’s first time in Hall H back in July.