LOS ANGELES -- Scathing critical reviews have had little bearing on film performance these days as movies with poor Rotten Tomatoes scores have found major success at the box office.
In the latest example, Columbia Pictures' Venom managed to beat critical darling A Star Is Born for the top box office spot over the weekend, debuting in first place in North America with $80.2 million and topping the previous October opening weekend record, according to figures from measurement firm comScore.
"The disconnect that seemingly had gone away between critics and audiences is now back in full view," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at media measurement firm comScore. "It just seems that people are looking for a fun, escapist time at the movie theater, and they're not really paying attention (to critics)."
The Marvel film Venom, which cost an estimated $100 million to produce. In the origin story, after an encounter with a parasitic alien symbiote, journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) becomes the titular villain, a menacing beast and frequent nemesis of Spider-Man.
In second place was Warner Bros.' A Star Is Born -- already being floated as a best picture front-runner -- which opened Oct. 4 with $44.2 million.
The $40 million film is the fifth iteration of the classic Hollywood story, which started life as What Price Hollywood? in 1932. The new Star Is Born features Bradley Cooper (who also directs and co-wrote the screenplay) as a fading rock star who discovers and falls in love with a talented young singer-songwriter (Lady Gaga). It earned positive reviews from audiences and critics, with an A on CinemaScore and a 91 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In third place, Warner Bros.' Smallfoot, now in its second weekend, added $14.4 million.
Universal's Night School, also in its second weekend, came in fourth, adding $12.5 million.
Rounding out the top five, Universal's The House With a Clock in Its Walls, now in its third weekend, earned $7.3 million.
Also new over the weekend, FTHM's Met Opera: Aida came in at No. 10 with $1.7 million.
In limited release, Fox's The Hate U Give opened in 36 theaters with $512,035, a solid per-screen average of $14,223. Amandla Stenberg stars in the PG-13 drama about the aftermath of an officer-involved shooting. The picture earned a 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"This being a record October weekend with a Marvel movie and an Oscar contender at the top, those two movies kind of sucked all the oxygen out of the room," Dergarabedian said. "By the time A Star Is Born and Venom have burned off some of the box office in the next couple weeks, when The Hate U Give goes into nationwide release, it should do quite well."
Today, Fox opens the thriller Bad Times at the El Royale, Universal debuts the drama First Man and Columbia premieres the comedy Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. In limited release, Amazon Studio opens the drama Beautiful Boy, and Roadside Attractions releases The Oath.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday (except A Star Is Born, which opened Oct. 4) , followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by comScore:
Venom, Columbia, $80,255,756, 4,250 locations, $18,884 average, $80,255,756, 1 week.
A Star Is Born, Warner Bros., $44,258,051, 3,686 locations, $11,641 average, $44,258,051, 1 week.
Smallfoot, Warner Bros., $14,402,559, 4,131 locations, $3,486 average, $42,263,504, 2 weeks.
Night School, Universal, $12,514,925, 3,019 locations, $4,145 average, $46,991,280, 2 weeks.
The House With a Clock in Its Walls, Universal, $7,332,665, 3,463 locations, $2,117 average, $55,089,225, 3 weeks.
A Simple Favor, Lionsgate, $3,424,954, 2,408 locations, $1,422 average, $49,004,310, 4 weeks.
The Nun, Warner Bros., $2,703,281, 2,264 locations, $1,194 average, $113,460,591, 5 weeks.
Crazy Rich Asians, Warner Bros., $2,166,626, 1,466 locations, $1,478 average, $169,241,568, 8 weeks.
Hell Fest, Lionsgate, $2,083,759, 2,297 locations, $907 average, $8,873,235, 2 weeks.
MET Opera: Aida, Fathom Events, $1,700,000, 900 locations, $1,889 average, $1,700,000, 1 week.
The Predator, 20th Century Fox, $947,358, 1,643 locations, $577 average, $50,033,247, 4 weeks.
White Boy Rick, Columbia, $603,341, 880 locations, $686 average, $23,351,427, 4 weeks.
Free Solo, National Geographic Entertainment, $562,785, 41 locations, $13,726 average, $977,696, 2 weeks.
The Hate U Give, 20th Century Fox, $512,035, 36 locations, $14,223 average, $512,035, 1 week.
Colette, Bleecker Street, $492,981, 107 locations, $4,607 average, $1,272,741, 3 weeks.
Peppermint, STX Entertainment, $473,806, 813 locations, $583 average, $34,717,200, 5 weeks.
Searching, Columbia, $443,106, 412 locations, $1,076 average, $25,649,766, 7 weeks.
Christopher Robin, Disney, $435,545, 1,638 locations, $266 average, $98,102,927, 10 weeks.
The Old Man & the Gun, Fox Searchlight, $403,928, 49 locations, $8,243 average, $594,383, 2 weeks.
The Wife, Sony Pictures Classics, $383,403, 358 locations, $1,071 average, $6,790,237, 8 weeks.
MovieStyle on 10/12/2018
Print Headline: Marvel's Venom eclipses Star