Refresh for more updates…There’s a great vibe out there about moviegoing right now, believe it or not; and October is just the beginning. While we had event films during the summer, we’ve got ’em all jammed packed in the next month, kicking off with Sony’s long-awaited Vernom: Let There Be Carnage on Friday stateside, followed by MGM/United Artist Releasing’s No Time to Die on Oct. 8, Universal/Blumhouse/Miramax’s Halloween Kills on Oct. 15, and Warner Bros./Legendary’s Dune on Oct. 22.
Some have written into me about shortened hours at multiplexes in the last month and empty auditoriums post Shang-Chi‘s huzzah over Labor Day weekend. Hopefully, this assembly line of tentpoles will turn all of that around. Sony is conservatively estimating $40M over 3-days at 4,200 locations, including Imax and Premium Large Format, comping to A Quiet Place 2, however, tracking and leading exhibitors have them in the $60M+ range at the U.S. and Canadian box office. A confidence prevails, as it should. I was at a fan screening of Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage Monday night at the Universal Citywalk Imax. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house and the movie played like gangbusters to great cheers with fans dressed in tow. Unlike the clunkyness of the first 2018 movie, which totally delivered and heightened the Venom mythology and continued this Sinister Six track which Sony is ultimately steering the bad boys of the Spider-Man franchise toward. Any indication as to how Venom: Let There Be Carnage takes the franchise to another level, is in the opening logos which explicitly read “In Association With Marvel”. That’s all we’re going to say about that. And because of that, whatever Venom 2 opens to, it’s certain to play and play even if it’s losing Imax screens to No Time to Die the following weekend.
The first Venom bested its 30% Rotten Tomatoes score, a B+ CinemaScore and on-the-set warring buzz between star Tom Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer to post the best domestic opening for October with $80.2M before Joker took over that record a year later for the month with a $96.2M opening. Sony’s concern lies in how big the actual marketplace is at this point in time during Covid: There’s only been a few times during the summer when we’ve actually been above or at 2019 weekend levels, and there’s two other wide entries this weekend, however, not really a threat, and both available in homes: MGM/UAR/Bron’s Addams Family 2 which is looking at moms and young girls with a hopeful teens 3-day B.O. at 3,700+ locations and a $19.99 PVOD availability at home, and Warner Bros’ The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark available on HBO Max and 3,180 theaters, expected to do in the single digits. Look for that movie to really pop on HBO Max given that it’s based on a popular HBO series, duh.
Previews for Addams Family 2 and Venom 2 (@ 3,475 locations) start at 4PM tomorrow while Many Saints of Newark won’t have any previews.
Of the major offshore territories that Venom 2 is debuting in this weekend, it’s Russia tomorrow, where it’s primed to best Legendary/Warner Bros.’ Dune with the besting opening of the pandemic besting their $7.8M opening with $8M. Theater capacity in Russia varies by region; in Moscow cinemas are capped at 50%. Dune is heading into its third weekend in Russia, and No Time to Die hasn’t arrived there yet.
Russia was the second best overall offshore market on Venom at $32.6M after China’s $269.1M. The bigger chunk of the sequel’s overseas rollouts starts on Oct. 13 with Korea, Japan, Spain, Italy among the notable markets. France, Germany, Netherlands won’t happen until Oct. 20 and 21 with Australia in November. Like most movies now, studios are waiting for that latter vital market to get back on its feet during the pandemic. Most of Southeast Asia is still closed. At historical rates, Venom opened to $13.6M in 2018 in Russia.
Jill Goldsmith will have our indie preview later in the weekend, but it’s important to note that NEON is debuting their Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane in 562 theaters in U.S. and Canada across 100 markets. The Julia Ducournau directed French feature has 92% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and follows a series of unexplained crimes; a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years. The pic in its logline is also billed as “Titane : A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys.” Ducournau is the second woman to win Cannes’ top prize after Jane Campion with 1993’s The Piano.