October 6, 2018

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Venom” & “A Star Is Born” Big, “The Hate U Give” Starts OK


VENOM (Tencent/Columbia/Sony) is the first big-budget action movie to open since The Meg in mid-August, and that (plus a huge marketing campaign) seems to have gotten it past murderous reviews for an enormous start, the biggest ever in October.  Preliminary numbers at Deadline have opening day at $32.3M (including $10M from a Thursday that started earlier than usual at 5PM), in the neighborhood of Doctor Strange‘s $32.6M and Thor: The Dark World‘s $31.9M.  That suggests a weekend around $84M, although bad word of mouth could still pull it below $80M.  In any case, it’s certainly on the road to a successful run, and the big-name actor who turns up in the mid-credits sequence for a preview of the planned sequel will probably get to actually make that movie.

Venom may burn out fairly quickly (the new Halloween will pounce on its audience in 2 weeks), while A STAR IS BORN (MGM/Warners) is built for the long haul of awards season.  It’s likely to set its own record to start, the biggest non-Disney musical opening in history, with a Friday at $16.4M (including $4.6M from screenings that began on Tuesday night) that should bring it to $44M by Sunday.  It has October to itself, with no direct competition until Bohemian Rhapsody on November 2, and with moderate production costs (although Warners went all-in on the marketing), it should be highly profitable, especially if it has international appeal.

SMALLFOOT (Warners Animation) held well with a 45% Friday-to-Friday drop to $3.5M, which should give it a $14M weekend (and extra benefit from the Columbus Day holiday on Monday).  Those are still mild numbers, and the US total won’t be much beyond $75M.

NIGHT SCHOOL (Perfect World/Universal) fell 62% from last Friday to $3.6M, worse than the 56% 2nd Friday drop for Central Intelligence and the 47% for Girls Trip.  A $12.5M weekend would put it on a track for $70-75M in the US, a bit better than Kevin Hart’s The Wedding Ringer.

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS (DreamWorks/Reliance/Universal) dropped 45% on its 3rd Friday to $1.7M, for a $7M weekend and a likely $70M US total.

A SIMPLE FAVOR (Lionsgate) lost 50% on its 4th Friday to $1M, headed for a $3.3M weekend and $55M in the US.

THE NUN (New Line/Warners) fell 54% on its 5th Friday to $750K, for a $2.5M weekend as it heads to $120M in the US.

HELL FEST (CBS/Lionsgate) crashed by 65% from last Friday to $700K, on its way to a $2M weekend and $15M in the US.

THE HATE YOU GIVE (20th) opened a limited engagement at 36 theatres before going wide in 2 weeks, and is on track for an OK $17K per-theatre weekend average (and should also benefit from the Monday holiday), roughly the same average Venom will have at 4250.  FREE SOLO (NatGeo) expanded to 41 theatres and should have a good $14K average.  COLETTE (Bleecker Street) widened to 107 for a $4500 weekend average.  THE SISTERS BROTHERS (Annapurna), now at 54, may average $4K for the weekend.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."