'Venom 2' Conquers Box Office With Pandemic Record $90 Million Opening

Marvel sequel tops the opening of ”Black Widow“ and pushes domestic box office to a new post-shutdown high

Sony Pictures

Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” is giving theaters renewed hope that the pandemic recovery is moving along as planned as it has earned an excellent $90 million opening weekend, passing “Black Widow” for the highest 3-day opening weekend since the pandemic began.

Not only that, it also exceeds the $80 million opening of the first “Venom” in 2018, putting it on course to join “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” as the second post-shutdown film to reach $200 million domestic. Premium formats like IMAX were also a major factor behind the new pandemic era record as 64% of tickets sold were premium tickets, bumping up the film’sperformance.

Reception for “Venom 2” was better than the first “Venom” with a 59% critics score and 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes along with a B+ on CinemaScore, and the film’s playful dark humor and surprising post-credits scene could draw in casual audiences even after “No Time to Die” arrives next weekend.

“We are so grateful to Tom, Andy, Kelly and all of the many gifted contributors who made such a unique and fun film. We are also pleased that patience and theatrical exclusivity have been rewarded with record results,” Sony Pictures Chairman/CEO Tom Rothman said in a statement. “With apologies to Mr. Twain: The death of movies has been greatly exaggerated.”

In second this weekend is United Artists/MGM’s “Addams Family 2,” which earned a solid $18 million opening from 4,207 screens. Like almost all animated family films released this year, “Addams 2” was released both in theaters and on home platforms, with UA/MGM making it available as a 48-hour digital rental for $19.99.

While the opening is 40% down from the $30 million earned by the first “Addams Family” in 2019, it is slightly above the $13.1 million earned by “Paw Patrol: The Movie” two months ago. United Artists is hoping for the film to become a popular Halloween title for families throughout October regardless of whether it is watched in theaters or at home. Critics have panned it with a 27% Rotten Tomatoes score while audiences have given it a B on CinemaScore.

“Shang-Chi” is in third with $6 million grossed in its fifth weekend, giving the film a $206 million domestic total and a $386.9 million global total, passing the global theatrical run of “Black Widow.” Between “Shang-Chi” and “Venom 2,” there is renewed confidence among both studios and theaters that the box office is on its way to supporting big-budget blockbusters without the aid of day-and-date paid streaming releases, a trend demonstrated by Disney’s decision to release the remainder of its films this year in theaters only for 30-45 days.

In fourth is Warner Bros.’ “The Many Saints of Newark” with a $5 million opening weekend from 3,181 locations. The prequel film to “The Sopranos” is hitting the low end of pre-release projections as the film’s primary audience is fans of the 2000s TV series, who could see it on HBO Max like all Warner titles. “Many Saints of Newark” has a 74% critics RT score but got a mixed reception from “Sopranos” fans with a C+ on CinemaScore and 60% RT audience score.

Universal’s “Dear Evan Hansen” completes the top 5 with $2.45 million in its second weekend, a 67% drop from the film’s dismal $7.5 million opening weekend for a 10-day total of $11.7 million. But Universal still has reason to celebrate this weekend as the James Bond film “No Time to Die,” which the studio is handling international distribution for, is on pace to become the biggest post-shutdown global opening with well over $100 million grossed.

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