It takes a Marvel to beat a Marvel.
Granted, Venom 2 is the one Marvel brand owned by Sony studios, not Disney, but as an extension of the Spider-verse it’s becoming more intricately tied to all things Marvel with each passing entry.
Suffice it to say, there’s no difference so far as audiences are concerned. Venom: Let There Be Carnage exploded out of the gate by setting a new opening weekend record for the pandemic era, earning a mind-boggling $90 million domestically over its first three days.
That tops the previous pandemic mark from Black Widow, which opened to $80 million in early July. The big caveat, of course, is that Black Widow opened simultaneously with the streaming option on Disney Plus whereas Venom 2 was/is a theatrical exclusive.
Caveat aside, $90 million is impressive no matter how you look at it, especially considering that it also topped the pre-pandemic opening of the first Venom movie; that surprise hit debuted to $80 million over the same October frame in 2018.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world was thrilling to Daniel Craig‘s James Bond finale No Time To Die to the tune of $119 million, an especially impressive haul given that it didn’t include China, the world’s biggest market.
Meanwhile back in the U.S. and Canada, the #2 film was the new animated family comedy The Addams Family 2; the sequel spooked up a better-than-expected $18 million. Shang-Chi fell to #3, but with its $6 million take it became the first movie of the pandemic era to pass the $200 million barrier in North America.
New Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark got whacked with a paltry $5 million. It’s a disappointing debut considering the series’ iconic status and the film’s $50 million budget; streaming simultaneously on HBO Max certainly didn’t help.
Rounding out the top 5 was last week’s #2 movie, the screen adaptation of the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen. Its $2.5 million weekend tally lifted its 10-day total to $11.8 million, a disappointing return for a Broadway smash that had become a cultural sensation.
The muscular showings of Shang-Chi in September and Venom 2 this past weekend should have theater owners at their most optimistic since the COVIC pandemic broke a year and a half ago, especially with No Time To Die set for next weekend and the Dune epic two weeks after that, all with two Marvel tentpoles continuing to hold steady.