Venom stars Tom Hardy and writer Kelly Marcel Photograph:( Reuters )
The unlikely dynamic duo of 'Venom' and 'A Star Is Born' have livened up the fall moviegoing season with the best October weekend of all time in North America.
Tom Hardy's superhero tale 'Venom' grabbed $80 million at 4,250 sites for Sony and Marvel while the Lady Gaga-starring remake of 'A Star Is Born' earned an estimated $42.6 million at 3,686 locations for Warner Bros. -- well above pre-weekend forecasts. 'Venom' smashed the record for an October opening, topping the $55.8 million launch of "Gravity" by 43%.
'Venom' also dominated at the international box office with $125.2 million, setting an international record for an October opening. South Korea led the way with $16.3 million.
'Venom' and the critically acclaimed 'A Star Is Born' were both able to draw effectively from beyond their core audiences. The strong domestic openings pushed the weekend's total business to about $174 million, or 15% above the prior mark of $151.5 million set in 2015 when Matt Damon's 'The Martian' opened, according to comScore.
Sony is hoping 'Venom' will launch a shared universe similar to Disney's lucrative superhero franchise. 'Zombieland' director Ruben Fleischer helmed the film, which carries a $100 million budget. Hardy portrays Eddie Brock, a journalist bound to the alien entity known as Venom.
Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with comScore, credited Sony and Warner Bros. with savvy scheduling. "A box office star is born as October sings a glorious tune the likes of which the industry has never heard before for the oft-overlooked month, as a perfect harmony of superhero blockbuster and Oscar-bound musical create one of the most perfectly orchestrated movie weekends at the multiplex in recent memory," he added.
Warner Bros.' second weekend of animated entry 'Smallfoot' finished third with $14.4 million at 4,151 venues, followed by Universal's second session of Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish comedy 'Night School' with $12.3 million at 3,019 locations. Amblin-Universal's 'The House With a Clock In its Walls' finished fifth with $7.3 million in its third weekend for a domestic total of $55.1 million and $87.4 million worldwide.