It looks like early estimates for the Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s opening box office were far too low. The Tom Hardy led sequel for Sony had the second best Friday during the pandemic, coming in at $37 million according to Deadline. And according to Box Office Mojo, the film made over $90 million for the weekend, surpassing the original Venom film’s $80.2 million back in 2018, pre-pandemic and even crushing the domestic openings for Black Widow, which pulled in just over $80 million domestically its opening weekend, and Shang Chi, which pulled down only $75 million its opening weekend. Venom 2 also was released in Russia which helped it accumulate another $13 million plus, bringing it’s worldwide total to just under $104 million.
Basically, Carnage grossed 12% more than Venom did when it opened exactly three years ago, meaning this sequel performed as though the pandemic conditions didn’t exist. And on average, openings for Marvel characters’ first sequels tend to have an 18% increase over their originals.
Sony should be very happy with those numbers, since the film was originally only expected to make around $60 million after it had been moved all over the schedule for the last year. The film has received a B+ CinemaScore (still unpublished at this time), the same as the first film, Rotten Tomatoes‘ professional critics only score it at 58%, but the audience score is holding strong at 85%, and PostTrak has it as 76% positive and 65% would recommend.
Yahoo! News reports that Sony is VERY happy:
“For us, Venom: Let There Be Carnage absolutely validates our exclusive theatrical window strategy,” said Sony President, Motion Pictures Group Josh Greenstein. “If you look at the history of theatrical, the obituaries have been written many times, and they’ve always been wrong. We had confidence in the theatrical experience, confidence in our big valuable IP, and took full advantage and had the patience to weather all of this. That strategy is paying off, which we’re happy about. It’s a nice validation of the theatrical strategy.”
Venom 2‘s opening here in the US and Canada, while the highest we’ve seen during the pandemic, is the second-best ever for the month of October, behind Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron’s Joker ($96.2M).
Plus the word of mouth of the end-credits scene should get fans into the seats.
Spoiler alert: the end credits scene puts Venom squarely in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s no surprise that Marvel Studios hasn’t congratulated Venom: Let There Be Carnage for its outstanding performance over the weekend. Their social media is still pushing Black Widow and Shang Chi.