Weekend BO Report: ‘Venom’ Smashes The October Opening Record With $80m

Written by Dapo Olowu

In a year where ‘Black Panther’ became the 3rd biggest film of all time in the States, ‘Infinity War’ broke both the domestic and worldwide opening record, and ‘Incredibles 2’ became the only animation to break $600m in the U.S.A., it’s really no surprise that Spider-Man spinoff ‘Venom’, even with poor reviews, became another superhero record-breaker. Its $80.3m opening completely smashes the October record of $55.8m held by 2013s ‘Gravity’, and almost certainly has Sony greenlighting a sequel as we speak.

It’s almost double that of nearest competitor ‘A Star is Born’, whose $42.9m is the 4th biggest musical opening of all time (behind ‘Beauty & The Beast’, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’, and ‘High School Musical 3’). In-line with our expectations, it also grossed around $14.2m from 31 countries, including $5.3m from the U.K. This, of course, again couldn’t compare to the might of ‘Venom’; its $125.2m from around 60 countries gave it the October record for a global opening, too. What’s even more impressive is that it managed well over $100m without China, who isn’t getting a release until November 2nd.

The question now for the two films is, where can they go from here? Both films have very different target audiences in mind, with ‘Venom’s young male audience (59% male, 64% under 25) differing massively from ‘ASIB’s older female crowd (66% female, 86% over 25). The two thus won’t have to concern themselves with eating into eachother’s markets, and while ‘Venom’ has barely any superhero competition until ‘Aquaman’, ‘ASIB’s critical reception (including an A on Cinemascore) should provide it with a lengthy Box Office run.

To be precise, a performance similar to ‘Gone Girl’ would see Bradley Cooper’s directing debut close in on $200m domestically, and a run like ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s would see ‘Venom’ end on a solid $180m – a success story for both movies. Of course, ‘TASM 2’ being a summer blockbuster and ‘Gone Girl’ being based on a best-selling book means we should take these comparisons with a pinch of salt, but their opening weekend performances show real potential for breakout hits.

Last weekend’s winner ‘Night School’ saw a 54% fall to gross $12.5m, in behind ‘Smallfoot’s $14.4m. The Universal Studios comedy is now just $3m away from $50m domestically, while ‘Smallfoot’s just $7.7m away from the same number. Rom-com ‘Crazy Rich Asians$2.2m leaves it on $169.2m in the U.S., just $7m away from becoming the 5th biggest romantic comedy in American history.

We only saw ‘Venom’ doing $65m this weekend, so how surprised were you by its gross? And with Bradley Cooper’s directing debut earning rave reviews and $42.9m, is a star truly born here? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘A Star Is Born’ Will Shine Bright But ‘Venom’s $65m Opening Will give It Top Spot

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s here. It’s finally here.

After 21 years (yes, 21) after it was first considered a viable project, Sony’s ‘Venom’ hits U.S. shores on Friday, looking to dim the light of Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born’. The Spider-Man spinoff ‘Venom’, starring Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed, aims to kick things off with a $65m gross, making it the biggest opening for an October release ever, comfortably beating ‘Gravity’s $55.8m from 2013.

This isn’t to say that ‘A Star is Born’ won’t open big. The R-rated musical, the 3rd remake of the 1937 classic, should earn $40m in its first 3 days – just under ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’s $42m to become the 3rd biggest opening for a musical ever. There’s a strong belief that the $36m-budgeted Warner Bros. flick could even break $50m, a figure that transforms the romantic drama from light counter-programming to a viable competitor for ‘Venom’.

Differing audiences aside, it’s easy to see why: both films are fronted by Hollywood A-listers, (Cooper, Gaga, Sam Elliott, & Dave Chappelle vs. Hardy, Ahmed, Michelle Williams, & Jenny Slate), and both stem from pretty popular source material. Lady Gaga fans have even taken to creating fake Twitter accounts to trash ‘Venom’ and bolster the musical’s opening figures, as if the Sony/Marvel film’s 30% Tomatometer score isn’t hurting it enough.

The apparent hurt may even have dulled the excitement for ‘Venom’, which had been flying high for months (the April trailer even broke into the top 20 most-watched worldwide ever within 24 hours). While a few at first predicted an opening closer to $100m, tracking has fallen to under $70m, for an opening close to ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’.

This may still be good enough to kick off the franchise Sony hoped for, especially as its international release from 59 markets this weekend (not including Japan and China) may bring in an additional $100m. The film, directed by ‘Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, features journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy), who investigates the operations of the Life Foundation and its CEO, Carlton Drake (Ahmed), but gets attached to an alien symbiote.

A Star is Born’, on the other hand, is a critical hit that’s even been touted for awards come the end of the year. After working its way through various festivals (Venice, Toronto, San Sebastián, and Zurich), it’s now boasting 93% on Rotten Tomatoes to further bolster audience anticipation. It stars Cooper (who also directed, produced, and wrote) as musician Jackson Maine, who falls for young, unknown singer Ally (Lady Gaga).

Looking past the opening weekend, we can’t see ‘Venom’ having as strong a run as ‘A Star is Born’. B.O. runs like Sony’s previous ‘Spider-Man’ films with similar critical receptions (‘TASM 2 and ‘Spider-Man 3’) have ‘Venom’ barely reaching $150m, while ‘A Star is Born’ could have a chance of reaching $200m domestically. It’s the final gross that studios ultimately look upon, meaning while ‘Venom’ will be happy winning the opening weekend battle, it’ll be the longer legs (sorry, lungs) of ‘A Star is Born’ that’ll win it the domestic war.

Elsewhere, last weekend’s top 2 ‘Night School’ and ‘Smallfoot’ continue their own battle, looking to gross close to $13m respectively. Slasher film ‘Hell Fest’ will remain in the top ten by the skin of its teeth, earning around $2m to bring its domestic figure to $10m.

It’s unlikely, but could ‘A Star is Born’ muster a surprise to win this weekend? Where do you see both films ending? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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REVIEW: A Star is Born

Year: 2018
Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Ramos

Written by Cameron Frew

Bradley Cooper’s first stride into the world of directing is a peculiar choice from the outset: a remake, of a remake, of a remake. The tried, tested and availed formula clearly strikes a chord with audiences, but that shouldn’t be a factor to belittle this stunning achievement. Cooper’s rendition of ‘A Star Is Born’ is a remarkably powerful piece of work, conjuring up an onscreen pair that’ll be remembered for years to come, some killer music and a thematically shattering tale of fame that takes the film to another level beyond a singsong – we’re certainly far from the shallow now, we’re right in at the deep end.

Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a tinnitus suffering country music superstar, is slowly losing control of his life. He’s ignoring medical advice, he’s addicted to prescription drugs, and most and worst of all, he’s an alcoholic. His much older brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) runs errands for him as they travel the country performing gigs, pushing him to look after himself but constantly failing. One fateful evening after a typically lively concert, Jackson stumbles into a drag bar – BYOB (bring your own boobs) is the rule. As he takes a pew and enjoys a scarily hearty measure of gin, Ally (Lady Gaga) appears on stage. He’s utterly besotted by her performance of ‘La Vie En Rose’, and charms his way to striking up a conversation with her, sparking a chain of events that’ll bring about love, stardom, and devastation in equal measure.

Cooper, starring and directing, opens the film with a pulsating, rollicking gig sequence, tracking the camera on his back as he picks up his guitar and begins to rock out to the deafening noise of his adoring crowd. Just before he goes to play, he takes a couple of pills to see him through – of course the audience can’t see that, they’re just there to see their favourite star. Straight away we get to hear Jackson’s voice, full of soulful chords accompanied by some awesomely loud music and cementing Cooper’s talents, assuring you, the viewer, that he isn’t messing around. The audience is deafening, the music is deafening, they all cancel each other out – Cooper is purposely deaf to the calling of his own problems, his fans are too busy swooning adoration to really hear what he has to say, a mantra Jackson lives by.

We then switch to Ally in an echo-ridden bathroom cubicle, screaming in frustration at her boyfriend before strolling away poetically, and as the red titles fade in over the scene, the classiness washes over you – just like how Chazelle opened La La Land in vintage style, Cooper does too.

His direction here is absolutely remarkable for a debut feature. He knows when to spend time with a moment and drain it for all its emotional worth, and also when to move on. He’s also a co-writer alongside Eric Roth and Will Fetters, so the fact he’s pulled this off in so many ways is nothing short of extraordinary. It isn’t long before the inevitable couple meet, and Cooper illuminates the spark with keenly envisioned symbolism, employing different colours for different feelings on each of their faces. What is fantastically well done, is their personalities and opinions are clearly established – Jackson loves his job, appeases his fans regularly who, funnily, always call him by his full name. Ally is immensely talented, but bogged down by a widespread lack of belief and hurtful comments about her appearance. The writing for the pair’s initial tango is so delicate, providing many laughs but also managing to be cutesy without crossing that dangerous line (there are a very small handful of moments that are a little corny). It isn’t exactly a spoiler to say what the film is really about; Jackson is so impressed by Ally’s singing and songwriting abilities, and wants to see her take a chance. Their relationship moves at a breakneck speed, but in the heat of the drunken air and the neon light, why shouldn’t they be allowed to fall for each other?

And that’s the thing – Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’ is very much a product of its time. With the omniscience of the internet and the capacity for everything to be filmed on a phone, a chance encounter in this day and age can equal fame, and the film smartly never plays down its reality in favour of distasteful theatrics. There are some damning musings on present-day stardom and the culture that surrounds it, as well as the treatment of mental health issues today. So as much as you’re drawn to the flick to hear Gaga singing her heart out, there’s a thick-skinned, dramatic heft that carries a heavy punch. For much of the running time, Cooper spends time up close with the characters, reading their facial expressions for the slightest ticks, the most minor of changes, almost letting you get to know them as the minutes fly by. You’ll cherish every second of profound character development as much as the singing.

Then again, the singing is mesmerising. The first performance of the soon-to-be-hit song, ‘Shallow’, is a perfect experience. When Ally grabs hold of the microphone with two hands and blasts out that time-stopping note, the goosebumps will wash over you like a tidal wave of kaleidoscopic emotion. Every sense in your body feels awake, feels alive, like you’re glowing with untamable joy. Overall, Gaga’s performance is fantastic, compelling whether she’s on stage or off, managing to bring an unforeseen realism despite her worldwide popstar origins, and proving her competency as a terrific actress further. But Cooper is magnificent. Very brave to put yourself out there alongside an artist as talented as Gaga, but he holds his own and will likely melt hearts with his country tones. But what’s most impressive is how he restrains Jackson’s inner struggle so heart-breakingly throughout, confiding and fighting with his brother (a turn from Elliot that oozes gravitas), while finding sanctuary in the arms of his wife in the face of his affliction – he’s not portrayed as an abusive, reckless rockstar, he’s just a man who’s led himself astray and can’t find his way back home.

The camera does have a tendency to keep moving all the time, whether it’s embodying the energetic spirit of a gig, or gently moving around the facial expressions of our lead couple. But it’s never so abrupt or grating it feels like a problem, rather, it just feels passionately fizzing with life. Some of the cinematography here is truly great, with Matthew Libatique’s evocative work shining in the grand stage scenes and hurting in moments of anguish – there are shots that’ll stay with you for a long time. The first half of the movie may hit some beats you’ll likely expect, but the second half will knock you for six, diving deep into the aftermath of lovesick decisions, all before reaching a devastating conclusion.

Despite the pain and the many, many tears, this is a film that demands an immediate revisit as soon as the credits roll. Cooper has landed a masterpiece on his first go. You could say, a star is born.

CAMERON’S RATING:

5

First Trailer For Bradley Cooper’s Directorial Debut ‘A Star Is Born’ Released

“In this new take on the tragic love story, he plays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers—and falls in love with—struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer… until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.”

Directed by: Bradley Cooper

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott.

Release Date: