Box office trackers have high expectations for Sony's Spidey spinoff "Venom," with the first round of tracking projecting an opening weekend of $57-63 million. That would be a new opening record for October, topping the $55.8 million made by Alfonso Cuaron's 2013 Oscar winner "Gravity."
While such a result would be low compared to recent Marvel and DC superhero films, Sony is also keeping costs relatively low as well with a net production budget of $100 million, well below the $150 million-plus budgets for MCU films. That budget was also financed in part by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, lowering Sony's costs.
With Spider-Man back on the big screen, thanks to Columbia's partnership with Marvel Studios, Sony is trying to capitalize on interest in the web slinger by unveiling a series of spinoffs set within Spidey's world, albeit separate from the MCU timeline and produced without Marvel Studios. "Venom," a more adult-aimed look at Spidey's evil counterpart and occasional antihero, is the first of these projects. In December, the animated film "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" will be released with the hopes of reaching out to family audiences.
While "Venom" reaches out to comic book fans, Warner Bros. will reach out to prestige audiences with Bradley Cooper's directorial debut "A Star Is Born." A modern retelling of the classic 1937 William Wellman film that has been remade twice before in the intervening decades, this film has earned critical acclaim in Venice and Toronto and is expected to receive heavy Oscar consideration for both Cooper and co-star Lady Gaga. It's also expected to have a strong showing as an adult alternative at theaters, with early projections setting it to open in the $25-30 million range.
October is shaping up to be smaller-scale repeat of the success that movie theaters enjoyed this summer, with a diverse slate, including "The Hate U Give," "First Man," and "Halloween," and several highly-anticipated films combining to cast a wide net over the moviegoing populace's many interests.
"A release slate that has something for everyone is way healthier for the box office than one that just swings from one seasonal tentpole to the next," comScore's Paul Dergarabedian recently told TheWrap. "If you can't find a film right now that piques your interest, you're just not looking hard enough."