‘Venom 2’ Devours Box Office With $70 Million-Plus Launch

“No Time to Die” is also having an explosive opening overseas ahead of its U.S. release next weekend

venom let there be carnage
Sony Pictures

Sony and box office analysts had cautious projections for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” and the Marvel film has devoured them with $37.2 million grossed on opening day, including premium format grosses and $11 million in Thursday previews. It is now estimated by Sony for a $71 million opening weekend from 4,225 locations with industry estimates projecting $78 million.

Even without grading the film on a COVID-19 curve, that’s a very solid result for the sequel considering the original “Venom” earned an $80 million opening on 2018. Reception for “Venom 2,” which leans harder into the dark but silly humor of the symbiote antihero and his hapless human host Eddie, has been stronger than for the original film with a 59% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86% audience score to go with a B+ CinemaScore.

While not as high as the openings for “F9” or “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Venom 2” is giving hope to theaters that October will provide a dramatic step forward in the rebuilding effort for the post-shutdown box office, as a loaded release slate is coinciding with declining COVID-19 infection rates.

This also provides hope for MGM, which will release “No Time to Die” next weekend in the U.S. after what is shaping up to be a post-shutdown record opening overseas. Released in the U.K. by MGM and 53 other international markets by Universal, the film is currently estimated for a $112.9 million global launch. That would beat pre-release projections of $80-100 million and comes without the aid of China, which gets the Bond film on Oct. 29.

In the U.K., “No Time to Die” — which is Daniel Craig’s last film as James Bond — is set to earn a $30 million-plus extended opening weekend, which would make it the country’s highest grossing post-shutdown release after just four days in theaters. In like-for-like markets and at current exchange rates, the film is performing at the same pace as the 2012 Bond film “Skyfall” and just 21% behind the 2015 film “Spectre.” The film has also set post-shutdown opening day records in multiple European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.

Back on the domestic charts, United Artists/MGM’s “The Addams Family 2” grossed $5.5 million from 4,207 locations and is estimated for an opening weekend of around $16 million. That’s slightly ahead of the $13.1 million opening for Paramount’s “Paw Patrol: The Movie,” which, like “Addams” and many other family films this year, was released day-and-date. “Addams 2,” which is also available for a two-day rental for $19.99, has a 27% critics Rotten Tomatoes score and a B from audiences on CinemaScore.

Also opening this weekend is Warner Bros.’ “The Many Saints of Newark,” a prequel to “The Sopranos” that is neck-and-neck with the fifth weekend of “Shang-Chi” for the No. 3 spot as it is estimated for a $5-6 million opening from 3,181 locations. The film, which is also available on HBO Max, had positive critical reception with a 74% RT score but a very mixed reception from “Sopranos” fans with a C+ on CinemaScore and a 61% audience score.

“Shang-Chi,” which became the first film since the shutdown to reach $200 million domestic on Friday, is estimated for a $5.6 million fifth weekend total. Universal’s “Dear Evan Hansen” completes the Top 5 with an estimated $2.4 million second weekend, giving it a 68% weekend drop and a 10-day total of $11.7 million.