There’s a new king of the pandemic box office.
Sony’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” tallied an estimated $90.1 million in ticket sales domestically over the weekend, the best box office haul since the Covid-19 outbreak began.
Marvel’s “Black Widow” was the previous record-holder after snaring $80 million during its July debt.
“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” also outpaced the first “Venom” film, which garnered $80.3 million over the course of its opening weekend when it was released in 2018. It is also the second-highest October opening in cinematic history, just behind “Joker,” which generated $96.2 million in 2019, according to data from Comscore.
“We are… pleased that patience and theatrical exclusivity have been rewarded with record results,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement Sunday.
For much of 2021, studios opted to make many of their new films available in cinemas and on streaming platforms at the same time. These decisions were made well before vaccination rates were on the rise and before the delta variant was running rampant in the U.S.
It has become clear, however, that the dual release has led to the cannibalization of movie theater ticket sales. While some studios are still utilizing the simultaneous in-theater and streaming debuts for films, the majority have returned to an exclusive theatrical window.
Movie theater operators praised the “Venom” sequel’s results. Cinemark noted that “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” was its highest opening weekend and helped generate the largest-ever October box office weekend for the company.
“This is another strong example that people want and need to get out of their homes for an immersive entertainment experience,” said Mark Zoradi, CEO of Cinemark, in a statement.