Sony’s comic book movie Venom slithered to a potent $10 million in Thursday-night previews at the North American box office, while Warner Bros.’ critical darling A Star Is Born likewise impressed in collecting $3.2 million, a sweet number for an adult-skewing movie.
Venom‘s start marks an October record in terms of previews. And, combined with special screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in select theaters, Star Is Born ‘s early total is $4.6 million.
Thanks to the very different pair of films, the first weekend of October could set records, both in terms of biggest opening and overall revenue. To date, the top October domestic debut of all time belongs to Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which blasted off with $55.7 million in 2013, not adjusted for inflation.
Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the Marvel antihero, is expected to top the chart with a domestic debut in the $57 million-$65 million range. One tracking service even suggests $70 million, while Sony remains more conservative in projecting $55 million. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the $100 million pic co-stars Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze and Reid Scott.
In terms of its preview gross, Venom easily beat the $6.4 million collected this summer by Disney and Marvel’s sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp. It remains to be seen how front-loaded Venom is, and whether it can withstand generally withering reviews. The good news for Sony is that there isn’t another superhero offering until Aquaman in December.
A Star Is Born marks Cooper’s feature directorial debut. He also stars in the film opposite mega-recording artist Lady Gaga in her first lead role as an actress. The music-infused romantic drama is tracking to open to $30 million plus, although more bullish observers believe it could cross $40 million in its domestic launch.
Costing a relatively modest $40 million to produce — Live Nation Productions is a partner on the movie — A Star Is Born is the fourth adaptation of the classic tale of a tortured, hard-drinking celebrity, in this case, a country-western star, who falls in love with a woman on the brink of fame.
The month of October has never been viewed as a corridor for mega-openings; rather, films — and especially adult-skewing titles and awards contenders such as A Star Is Born — can enjoy a long run.
In 2014, the adult-fueled thriller Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, opened to $37.5 million over the Oct. 3-5 weekend on its way to grossing $167.8 million domestically. A wild card in the case of A Star Is Born are younger Lady Gaga fans, dubbed “Little Monsters.”
A Star Is Born presently boasts a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93 percent, compared to 30 percent for Venom.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.