Back in August, we predicted that Sony’s Venom, starring Tom Hardy, would open to roughly $60 million to $65 million en route to a worldwide total between $400 million and $450 million. Not bad for a movie that reportedly cost $100 million. A month later, tracking numbers pegged the film’s opening frame for between $60 million and $70 million as it goes head-to-head with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s A Star Is Born. Now, per Atom Tickets, the movie’s pre-ticket sales are outpacing recent Marvel Cinematic Universe hits such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 , Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp. In fact, Venom sits third behind Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther in terms of Marvel’s pre-sales numbers (but remember, it’s not connected to the MCU).
While that’s great news for the movie’s box office prospects this weekend—when A Star Is Born will offer legitimate competition as the year’s most anticipated release—we still have reason to believe that Venom‘s financials will be heavily front-loaded. Even if the film does break the October opening record set by 2014’s Gravity ($57.5 million), it may not have the legs of the MCU properties that it beats out early on. Casual moviegoers—not the die-hards who have loudly made their pro-Venom voices heard on social media—don’t seem all that interested (while nearly everyone seems to be gearing up for A Star Is Born), so the film could be looking at a big opening followed by a steep drop.
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Furthermore, the first wave of critical reactions may put Sony’s plans to build a shared cinematic Marvel-verse populated with Spider-Man characters on ice. As of now, the PG-13 flick about Hardy’s man-eating antihero has garnered a lowly 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
We’ve seen this type of pattern before with poorly reviewed or divisive films. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice dropped a staggering 69 percent in its second weekend and Star Wars: The Last Jedi tumbled 67 percent after its massive opening. While both went on to score huge worldwide totals, they each came in under expectations in one way or another. By comparison, none of the aforementioned MCU features dropped more than 62 percent from their opening weekend (any movie whose sales drop more than 65 percent after opening weekend is considered a big loss). Next weekend will also see the release of Oscars hopeful and pseudo-blockbuster First Man, from director Damien Chazelle (La La Land), further cutting into Venom‘s piece of the pie.