“Venom” Devours October Record, While “A Star Is Born” Shines


October 5-7, 2018

(estimates from



Venom $80.0 million
A Star Is Born $41.2 million
Smallfoot $14.9 million
Night School $12.2 million
The House with a
Clock in Its Walls 
$7.2 million


Even with lousy reviews and getting mocked mercilessly online, Venom did whatever it wanted, gobbling up an estimated $80 million. That shatters both the most optimistic expectations, as well as the previous record for an October opening. (Gravity debuted with $55 million in 2013.) The film also pulled in an excellent $125 million internationally. It may have been the butt of jokes, but Sony is laughing all the way to the bank. Still, it's likely to have a pretty big drop in its second weekend.

A Star Is Born delivered a pretty stellar debut itself, especially for an R-rated movie aimed specifically at adults. With $41.2 million, the early front runner for Best Picture is off to an excellent start. The fourth version of the film has received near-rapturous reviews at major film festivals, and was a big hit with audiences as well. Expect this one to have long legs.

Smallfoot fell to No. 3, dropping a mere 35 percent. That's a good hold for any animated movie. Night School tumbled to No. 4. Still, it's likely to finish with more than double its budget, and further solidifying the star power of Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. The House with a Clock in Its Walls slid to fifth place. It will soon have topped such higher-profile movies as Tomb Raider and Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Studio 54, a documentary on the legendary New York nightclub. The film made $15,000 on its lone screen.
  • The Hate U Give had a strong debut in limited release. The excellent adaptation of the YA novel about a police shooting averaged $13,889 on its 36 screens. It goes wide on October 19.
  • Free Solo continues to wow audiences. Expanding to 41 screens this week, the documentary about an insane free climb of El Capitan averaged more than $13,000 again.

Next week:

It's going to be a pretty big showdown, and I'm predicting at least 4 of the top 5 films will make more than $20 million, a rarity. The new movies: the family-friendly scares of Goosebumps 2, the historical high stakes of the moon landing in First Man, and the wild thrills of Bad Times at the El Royale. So who comes out on top? I'm predicting an excellent hold for A Star Is Born to jump to No. 1, somewhere around $30 million. Venom will be close behind, around $28 million. First Man will earn $26 million, while Goosebumps 2 will have just $22 million (roughly what its predecessor did). That leaves Bad Times in fifth place with only $10 million. Would I be shocked if that order gets all mixed up? Absolutely not.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.