‘Venom’ Box Office: Columbia/Sony Marvel Antihero Makes A Record October Opening

Sony was desperate for a hit, and in fact, they have one.  Filmmaker  Ruben Fleischer’s Venom began opening in theaters nationwide. Most critics crucified the superhero pic — starring Tom Hardy as the titular villain — which got a lowly 31 percent Rotten Tomatoes score that could have dinged the $100 million film.
 Venom Final 1-sheet LOOK2

But by Sunday, studio executives felt like heroes themselves. Venom shook off the bad notices by opening to a massive $80.3 million  domestically, well ahead of even the most robust expectations. Heading into the weekend, tracking services had suggested the movie would open somewhere in the $55 million-$70 million range. Venom also notched an October best, easily beating the $55.5 million launch of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity in 2013.


One big reason for Venom‘s success: it appealed to an ethnically diverse audience of fanboys — more so than most superhero titles (Black Panther being the big exception). While Caucasians made up 38 percent of Venom ticket buyers on opening weekend, overall sales were fueled by Hispanics (26 percent), African-Americans (18 percent), Asians (11 percent) and Native American/Other (6 percent), according to those with access to comScore and Screen Engine’s PostTrak exit-polling service.


By way of comparison, the opening-weekend breakdown for this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, from Disney and Marvel Studios, consisted of Caucasians (53 percent), Hispanics (19 percent), African-American (15 percent), Asian (8 percent) and Native American/Other (4 percent).


“We wanted to create a great film for the broadest possible audience, and we did,” Sony domestic distribution chief Adrian Smith says of Venom.


Sony’s marketing campaign for the film contained a big sports push, including sponsoring one of the largest pay-per-view matches of the year, Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golavkin, in mid-September. Venom also had a presence during the NFL’s opening weekend

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   Columbia
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