World Box Office: Venom Shatters October Records with Huge Opening Weekend

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The reviews were pretty bad. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was just 31 percent.  October is considered a slow month and on top of that Venom also had tough competition from A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper’s take on the classic tale about fame and success starring Lady Gaga. But Sony’s spinoff of Spider-Man  – which is not really meant to be a spinoff or to be called that way- ignored all warnings and shattered all records for October, domestically and internationally, delivering $80 million in the North American market $125.2 from 58 international markets, for a global haul of $ 205.2 million.

Venom generated $16.4 million in Korea, followed by Russia with $13.6, Mexico with $10.2, Australia with $6.8 and Germany with $5.7. There were strong openings also in Italy, Taiwan, Malaysia and India. Other major markets such as China, Japan and France are still to come. And with no blockbuster competition in sight for the next few weeks, Venom can enjoy considerable play ahead.

Venom represents a major win for Sony, trying to develop its own roster of superhero films. And for Tom Hardy, who stars in the film alongside Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed and Reid Scott. In a survey conducted before the film’s release, Hardy’s name played a major draw, along with the fact that his anti-hero is clearly an anti-establishment kind of guy.

Talking about guys, two out of three Venom ticket buyers were male, with over a half of them under the age of 25. The opposite numbers of A Star Is Born, where women represented 66% of an audience that was 85 percent over 25. A niche large enough to generate $41.2 million domestically, slightly ahead of projections. Internationally, 31 markets generated $14 million but this is an adult-skewing film and is expected to stay in theaters for months. The UK was good for $5.3 million, France and Germany were in the $2 million range. A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and also Lady Gaga’s first feature film will open next weekend in Italy, Korea, Brazil, and Mexico. Japan, a major musical market, will release around Christmas.

Back to the global chart, the third spot goes to Project Gutenberg, a Hong Kong thriller starring Aaron Kwok and Chow Yun-fat. On its second weekend, it generated $38 million in China and is now about to reach the $100 million mark. The second spot in the Chinese market went to Zhang Yimou’s acclaimed Shadows. It earned $17.7 million, for a total of $65 million so far.

Then there is Smallfoot. Warners’ animated comedy featuring the voice cast of Channing Tatum, James Corden, Common, and LeBron James, placed third in its second outing by generating $14.9 million, for a domestic total of $42.8 million. Overseas, 57 markets generated $12 million, for a global total so far of $75 million. Major markets such as Germany, France, the UK, Japan, China, and Russia are still to come.

New titles keep opening at the specialty box office, hoping to get attention and traction for the upcoming Awards Season. This week was the turn of The Hate U Give Us, an adaptation of Angie Thomas’s best-seller, with Amandla Steinberg as a young girl witnessing a police shooting. It opened in 36 theaters, generating $500,000.

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