Venom is set to annihilate October’s all-time opening weekend record, far eclipsing Gravity’s debut. The film is the first of several vehicles Sony has planned for their own comic book franchise based on the 900 Marvel characters they still own the rights to. Venom, in particular, has been a passion project for the studio for years, as its development dates back to the late 2000s when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 came out. At long last, it’s finally reached theaters, but unfortunately for Sony, the results are something of a mixed bag.
Critically speaking, Venom’s reception leans towards the negative end of the spectrum, with people criticizing its weak story and dated feel. However, there’s still some fun to be had with it (see: the inherent weirdness of the Eddie Brock/Venom dynamic), which meant it could be a hit with general audiences. For months now, projections indicated it would break records in its debut, and now Venom looks like it’s going to exceed commercial expectations.
According to THR, Venom is on track to earn roughly $80 million in its first three days domestically, passing the $55.7 million posted by Gravity back in 2013. In a distant (but still respectable) second is Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, which should gross $40+ million in its own debut. The very different target demographics of the two new arrivals meant both were in an ideal position to thrive at the box office.
For Sony, this is excellent news. Venom cost “only” $100 million to produce, so it should be well on its way to turning a massive profit. Before these updated numbers came in, the film was estimated to earn $175 million worldwide this weekend, and now that figure will likely be higher. What’s more is that Venom looks to be ready for a leggy theatrical run, as there aren’t any other massive franchise blockbusters opening until November when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premieres. While it’s true there are other high-profile films coming in the next couple of weeks (First Man and Halloween jump out), they’re not exactly direct competition for Venom. If word-of-mouth doesn’t derail it, the film will be huge.
Sony has yet to officially date in-development projects like Morbius and Silver & Black, but Venom’s early success should give the studio confidence to move ahead with those films. At the very least, the chances of a Venom sequel happening increase, especially after Ruben Fleischer’s movie laid the groundwork for a followup. Sony was smart to take things slow as they waited to see what they had, and maybe they now have a comic book tentpole to call their own.