Venom sequel makes monstrous $120m debut, setting pandemic record

LOS ANGELES: Venom: Let There Be Carnage roared to US$90.1 million (S$120 million) in its debut, setting a new pandemic record.

Opening in cinemas here on Oct 14, the much darker Venom follow-up comes from Sony Pictures and is separate from Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe, which recently delivered Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings and Black Widow - the two highest-grossing films of the year at the North American box office.

The supervillain sequel stars Tom Hardy as investigative journalist Eddie Brock whose symbiotic bond with an alien named Venom gives him superpowers.

He must stop serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who has broken out of prison after merging with another alien.

It blew past the pandemic-era benchmark set last July by Black Widow, which opened to US$80 million in theatres. It made an additional US$60 million on Disney+, where it was available to purchase on the same day as its theatrical debut.

"Young adult audiences are less deterred by current pandemic conditions than older and family moviegoers, which is benefiting superhero, action and horror movies," said Mr David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting company Franchise Entertainment Research.


And making inaugural ticket sales for Venom: Let There Be Carnage even more impressive - it had a bigger opening weekend than its predecessor, 2018's Venom. The first comic book adventure with Hardy at the helm opened to US$80 million, years before the devastating global health crisis.

Despite terrible reviews, the original became a box-office juggernaut and grossed US$213 million in North America and US$856 million globally. Venom was particularly huge in China, where it collected US$269 million.

Meanwhile, Shang-Chi earned US$6 million in its fifth weekend of release, boosting its overall total to US$206 million. It is the first, and so far only, pandemic-era movie to gross more than US$200 million in the US and Canada and has generated US$386 million globally. - REUTERS