Friday Box Office Analysis

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

October 6, 2018


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Do you like box office records? Boy, do we have a couple for you!

Venom opened in theaters this weekend against a competitor that was getting a lot more positive headlines. The silent majority has spoken, however, and they prefer poorly reviewed comic book movies to awards season and critical darlings.

The big new opening this weekend is unquestionably Venom, which overcame hostile negative buzz to set one obscure and two important box office records. On Thursday, Venom earned $10 million from its previews, breaking the old record by 25 percent. Now, a valid argument exists that it's not an apples-to-apples comparison since these were midnight sneaks until recently. Now, studios just start showing the films whenever they want on Thursday.

Any question about the legitimacy of Venom evaporated yesterday. The film shattered the October daily box office record by earning $32.8 million. The previous record holder was Paranormal Activity 3 with $26.3 million. Venom just easily outpaced that performance and almost beats that number without its Thursday previews. The rest of Venom's weekend won't be as impressive, but it's still poised to break $80 million. In the process, it will smash the current October opening weekend record by $25 million.

For a film with a reported negative cost of less than $130 million and strong global prospects, this is a dazzling performance. If Sony had taken the time to make a better movie, they could have built a solid new franchise. As it is, the B+ Cinemascore for Venom matches it with... Justice League. So, you know.

In a world where Venom had come out on a different weekend, A Star Is Born would garner all the headlines for its sublime box office achievement. Its a rated R remake of a movie nobody was clamoring to come back. It features a first-time director and an actress with multiple Grammy awards as its star. We have two words for old-time movie buffs. Dick Tracy. We have two more. Shanghai Surprise. This could have gone a lot of ways, and most of them were bad.

Instead, we're spending today reporting happy news to Little Monsters around the world. These are the same people who are all ready to point out to us that Lady Gaga has won a Golden Globe for her acting (really). She has just caused history to repeat itself by mirroring Barbra Streisand's achievement with A Star Is Born in 1976. A Star Is Born will become one of the most successful October openings ever. After $4.55 from Thursday previews and then $11.25 from Friday actuals, its announced Friday box office is $15.8 million. That puts it on pace to earn $44.1 million for the weekend, which would be the seventh-best October debut ever.


Sometimes it's hard to appreciate the opening weekends of movies that don't break $100 million because we get jaded. The latest iteration of A Star Is Born, however, checks every box a production could possibly want. It is well-reviewed, it has an A Cinemascore, and it's a bona fide box office blockbuster after only 36 hours in theaters. Since it's currently a front-runner for the Academy Awards, it should continue to do well for an extended period of time.

Lately, there's been a strange phenomenon where early front-runners for awards consideration tend to get usurped by last minute risers, so we're not expecting this to win Best Picture or anything. It is the type of film that could get a dozen nominations, though. You're going to be hearing about A Star Is Born through February - four and a half months. That translates to box office of fairly epic proportions for a film with a $36 million budget. It's poised to be one of the most profitable films of 2018 - possibly THE most profitable, at least among studio releases. And a lot of people won't remember it, because Venom basically doubled its opening weekend.

Last weekend's opening weekend releases behaved exactly as you would expect. Smallfoot held up relatively well, declining 46 percent Friday-over-Friday before we factor out Friday sneaks. With a total yesterday of $3.5 million, it's poised for a weekend box office take of $13 million. Night School was a bit more frontloaded, falling 63 percent from Friday-to-Friday. Its total yesterday of $3.5 million indicates it should earn about $11.3 million this weekend. The $29 million production should be in the range of $46-47 million after Sunday. That's a solid win for Universal.

Also, Hell Fest earned $612,000 yesterday, which is a Friday-to-Friday drop of 70 percent. Good news, everyone! We're only 48 hours away from forgetting Hell Fest ever existed.



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