Venom: Let There Be Carnage Bites Off More Than Expected With $70 Million+ Opening Weekend

Update: "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" ultimately blew past these estimates and grossed $90.1 million in its opening weekend — the biggest box office debut since the pandemic began. 

"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" has outstripped early box office projections and is now headed for an estimated $71 million opening weekend. 

According to BoxOfficePro, Sony Pictures originally expected a $40 million opening weekend for the sequel — an understandably conservative estimate, given the uncertainties of the box office amid a still-ongoing pandemic. "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" got off to a very strong start, however, with $11.6 million in Thursday night preview ticket tales (the second-best preview night since the pandemic began). By that point, it was clear that Venom and Carnage were going to leave that $40 million mark in their dust over the rest of the weekend.

TheWrap reports that Sony is now estimating a $71 million opening weekend for "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," including Thursday previews and premium formats, while industry estimates put it closer to $78 million. For comparison's sake, the first movie grossed $80.3 million in its opening weekend (without a pandemic to contend with), so "Let There Be Carnage" is already on track to become another box office hit.

If those numbers hold, it will overtake "F9" and lay claim to the third-highest opening weekend of 2021 so far, behind two other Marvel Comics-based movies: "Black Widow," which currently holds the #1 spot with $80 million, and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," which isn't far behind at $75 million, and could be surpassed if those higher estimates for "Let There Be Carnage" pan out. Once again, it's a very good year to be a Marvel superhero (or antihero, since Venom's penchant for eating heads is kind of problematic).

Everyone Loves An Odd Couple

The numbers so far mark yet another victory for a movie franchise that started out as a bit of an underdog. Marvel fans were understandably skeptical about the viability of a Venom solo movie that wouldn't feature Spider-Man at all, since Peter Parker is such an integral part of Venom's origin story in the comics. And when "Venom" hit theaters in 2018, it was largely panned by critics. Yet the first movie also won many people over just by being incredibly goofy and weird (thanks in large part to Tom Hardy's brilliantly unhinged dual lead roles as both Eddie Brock and the voice of Venom).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hardy (who has a "story by" credit on "Venom: Let There Be Carnage") and screenwriter Kelly Marcel looked at both the criticisms of the first movie and what people loved about it, and used that to start building the sequel. So if you notice that the script leans quite hard into portraying Eddie and Venom as a bizarre (yet ... strangely compelling) romantic comedy pairing, it's only giving the people what they want.