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Venom lands October best $80 million US opening as A Star Is Born also shines


Story by Jack Foley

THE American box office celebrated a hugely successful weekend when two of its new releases over-performed massively.

Tom Hardy’s Venom attracted a whopping $80 million to take top spot in spite of lukewarm reviews, while Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born, starring himself and Lady Gaga, also landed a highly impressive $42.6 million.

Venom‘s total was a win for Sony Pictures and marks easily the best October opening for a film ever.

Overseas, the news was just as good with Venom soaring to $125.2 million from 58 markets for a global bow of $205.2 million, also an October best. South Korea led the way with $16.3 million, followed by Russia with $13.6 million.

On top of making October history, Venom nabbed the seventh-best launch of the year so far, even going so far as to beat fellow superhero pic Ant-Man & The Wasp, which opened to $75 million in the summer.

Going into the weekend, the film, which cost an estimated $100 million movie to make for Sony’s film studio, there had been a lot riding on its success as Sony tries to build its own stable of superhero pics beyond the marquee Spider-Man movies that are linked now to Disney and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

Adrian Smith, Sony’s domestic distribution chief, commented: “One of the great things here is that there isn’t another superhero film [Aquaman] until Christmas. The movie plays great and audiences love it.”

With Venom marking the latest superhero success of the year, it now means that superhero titles can claim five of the top 10 spots in the 2018 chart so far – and six if you also include Incredibles 2.

Also celebrating this weekend was Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star Is Born, which marks Lady Gagy’s first lead role on the big screen. The film can now lay claims to one of the top starts ever for a romantic drama or musical. What’s more, it cost a relatively modest $40 million to produce.

T he fourth adaptation of the classic tale of a tortured, hard-drinking celebrity — in this case, a rock star (Cooper) — who falls in love with a singer on the brink of fame (Lady Gaga), A Star Is Born has proved a hit with critics and older filmgoers alike. Its over-performance could now strengthen its playing hand as an awards contender.

Elsewhere at the US box office this weekend, it was mostly about the holdovers. Heading those was Warners’ family film Smallfoot, which placed third in its second weekend with $14.9 million for a US total of $42.8 million.

In fourth spot was the Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School, which slipped to $12.3 million in its sophomore weekend for a 10-day US haul of $46.8 million. Globally, the film has grossed $58.7 million.

And Eli Roth’s family adventure The House With a Clock In its Walls rounded out the top five with $7.3 million in its third weekend for a US total of $55.1 million and $87.4 million worldwide.

At the speciality box office, George Tillman Jr.‘s The Hate U Give, about a young girl who witnesses a police shooting, is worth keeping an eye on as it earned an estimated $500,000 for a screen average of $13,885. The critically-acclaimed film is based on Angie Thomas’ best-seller and stars Amandla Stenberg.