Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

October 7, 2018

Why is this gross thing following me?

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It's not part of the MCU, features a relatively minor character and it's not released by Disney, but Venom's opening weekend proves that it's Marvel's world and we're all just living in it.

While the first true Oscar contender of 2018 snagged most of the headlines going into the weekend, and implied a closer than anticipated box office race (or perhaps a major upset in the works), conventional wisdom prevailed and the critically savaged comic book movie dominated the weekend.

Venom was easily the number one movie of the weekend, earning an estimated $80 million. While there's very likely some clever arithmetic going on to get to that nice round number, even if it's overestimated by a couple million, that absolutely blows away the October opening weekend record, which was held by Gravity, which opened to $55.7 million in 2013. October remains the month with the lowest opening weekend record, as every other month except for January has seen a $100 million or more opening.

Released by Sony, Venom is one of the few Marvel properties not owned by Disney (yet...) and is in the same universe as Sony's other Marvel property, Spider-Man (the character was a villain in 2007's Spider-Man 3). Tom Hardy's performance has the character as more of an antihero, and thus, franchise potential.

Venom was largely despised by reviewers, rating just 32% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences didn't care, they wanted more Marvel. The $600 million+ totals of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War guaranteed a strong opening weekend.

Venom's long term prospects are unknown, with a B+ Cinemascore, and the lousy reviews, it's probably going to fall off very quickly, but with a reported budget of $100 to $116 million, it's already crossed the $200 million total when overseas grosses are included, so that's definitely the start of a franchise even if Venom drops 60% or more next weekend.

Second place goes to A Star Is Born, which would have been the big story of the weekend had Venom not existed and/or broken the October weekend record. The remake (of a remake of a remake) earned an impressive $41.2 million this weekend. You are going to be hearing about this film just about every week from now until the Oscars, so you might as well get used to it. Starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga (Cooper also wrote and directed), it's currently the frontrunner (by default, basically) for several major awards. It might not win anything by the time we get to the actual ceremony, but it's at the worst a stone cold lock for several nominations.

After playing the festival circuit, the awards hype really began for A Star Is Born, and the 91% Fresh rating from critics shows that it wasn't just talk. And since we're supposed to be a box office website, the film only cost $36 million to make, so it's bested that in just one weekend.

A Star Is Born is going to have a much longer shelf life than Venom, and while Venom will probably earn more in the long run, we'll all be talking about A Star Is Born long after we've forgotten that Venom even existed.

Smallfoot takes third, holding like a good animated film should, dipping just 35% to $14.9 million and $42.7 million in two weekends. It's got this market to itself for a few weeks (with maybe some slight impact coming from Goosebumps 2 next weekend), so it's headed to about $80 million.


Last weekend's winner takes a hit as Night School drops 55% to $12.2 million. It's got $46.7 million in two weekends. The Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy suffered from the lousy reviews, which typically doesn't bode well for longevity for comedies. It only cost $29 million to make, so it'll end up a win for Universal, even though Smallfoot will have passed it by next weekend.

The House with a Clock in its Walls adds $7.2 million in its third weekend (down 42%) and it's got $55 million in three weekends. Eli Roth might have a future in this sort of thing when he gets tired of torture porn. It only cost $42 million to make and is flirting with $100 million worldwide (it'll get about $75 million domestically, which should do the trick), so it'll go down as another positive for Universal, a studio quietly having a pretty decent year, as their two big domestic misses (Skyscraper and Pacific Rim: Uprising) made up for it with solid overseas earnings.

A Simple Favor takes sixth with $3.4 million (down 47%) and $49 million in four weekends. Relatively leggy given its modest opening, it dipped more than the last few weekends after losing a bunch of theaters to Venom and A Star Is Born. $60 million is not a bad total by any means, especially for a director not known for this sort of film.

The Nun earns $2.6 million (down 52%) and has $113.3 million after five weekends. The Insidious franchise just will not go away because of performances like this.

Hell Fest predictably drops 60% from opening weekend to $2 million and has $8.8 million in two weeks. The good news is it only cost $5.5 million to make. The bad news is it was probably released a couple of weeks too early, and stood to make more if it was released later in the month. But then again, it also would have run in to the latest Halloween release, so maybe that's why CBS Films released it here.

Crazy Rich Asians' time in the top ten may finally be done as in its eighth weekend, it earned $2 million and has $169.1 million to date. It took a big hit in screens this weekend but still managed to only drop 50%, as the box office story of the year (non-Black Panther division) looks to get to $175 million total by the time it's all over.

The Predator's disappointing run wraps up the top ten as it earned about $900,000 in its fourth weekend and is just a hair under $50 million total. A Simple Favor, a film released on the same weekend, will finish with a higher domestic total than this, even though The Predator opened $8 million higher.

Your top 12 films this weekend totaled $168.4 million, an October record, of course. This weekend last year was led by Blade Runner 2049, which started with $32 million, as the top films tallied $98.8 million.

Next weekend brings us another Oscar contender in the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, as well as the family sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and the likely future cult thriller Bad Times at the El Royale.

Top Ten for Weekend of October 5-7, 2018
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Venom Sony Pictures 80.0 New 80.0
2 A Star Is Born Warner Bros. 41.2 New 41.2
3 Smallfoot Warner Bros. 14.9 -35% 42.7
4 Night School Universal 12.2 -55% 46.7
5 The House with a Clock In its Walls Universal 7.2 -42% 55.0
6 A Simple Favor Lionsgate 3.4 -47% 49.0
7 The Nun Warner Bros. 2.6 -52% 113.3
8 Hell Fest CBS Films 2.0 -60% 8.8
9 Crazy Rich Asians Warner Bros. 2.0 -50% 169.1
10 The Predator 20th Century Fox 0.9 -77% 49.9
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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