Weekend Forecast: ‘A Star Is Born’ & ‘Venom’ Poised to Crush October Box Office Records

Friday Update: The original publication of this story listed incorrect numbers for Venom in the chart below. They have been corrected to reflect our most recent forecast from previous weeks.

Previous Report: October is gearing up to kick off in record fashion with this weekend’s debut of two counter-programming autumn juggernauts. The pair of new releases look likely to combine for more than $100 million between them by Sunday’s end (something no duo has ever achieved in the tenth calendar month), with an outside-but-possible chance that one or both could challenge the $55.8 million October opening record held by 2013’s Gravity.

Still, this is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable weekends of the year. The race for first place this weekend may be much closer than the industry has been expecting.

Leading the charge is expected to be Sony’s Venom, which aims to leverage the star power of Tom Hardy and the fan base of one of Marvel’s most popular anti-heroes. The film’s social media trends have registered in line with the likes of Doctor StrangeLogan, and X-Men: Apocalypse. The latter of that trio may be the most comparable without any ties to Disney’s MCU, underwhelming reactions from critics, and minimal character familiarity beyond core comic book fans. Our current tracking range stands between $50 million and $75 million.

Traditional industry tracking is also spanning a wide spectrum, with huge interest levels countering more down-to-earth intent scores (relative to big comic book titles). Meanwhile, our Trailer Impact models have shown consistently strong metrics, although Average Positive Interest is down about 4 percent from when we first tracked the title two months ago. One major factor this weekend could be less family appeal than the Marvel films under Disney’s banner, increasing the potential for a front-loaded Thursday/Friday haul.

The good news is that Venom doesn’t need to perform anywhere near the typical nine-digit Marvel levels to be considered successful. Word of mouth is going to be a major factor in the days ahead for the $100 million budgeted film, but overseas play should be able to drive a strong bottom line even if the domestic run proves to be front-loaded as we’re expecting. There’s also a chance Venom survives poor reviews in the vein of Suicide Squad, although that film didn’t face a strong female-driven competitor opening on the same weekend.

While the comic book release will appeal most to young male audiences, Warner Bros.’ A Star Is Born is aiming for a decidedly adult crowd. The film’s stellar reviews, pre-release Oscar buzz, and excellent word of mouth from screenings around the country have helped create a snowball of momentum for the remake. The pairing of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga has generated some of the most intense interest for an on-screen duo in years, while the latter’s diverse and expansive fan base adds to the fever pitch.

A Star Is Born has generally tracked similar to films like Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Fifty Shades Freed, and other female-led titles this year, but it has shown late signs of pulling away from those comps even when factoring out the film’s Tuesday night fan event screenings (which we expect will be included in weekend grosses). Our updated range stands between $40 million and $60 million for the weekend.

Among the weekend’s two openers, Star seems the most likely to surprise and beat pre-release tracking. Notably, its Trailer Impact Recall score is 3 percent higher than Venom heading into the weekend, while the two films’ Twitter activity have been closely matched over the past week.

The fairest comp at this point is probably 2014’s Gone Girl, which similarly opened in early October as an adult-driven option with a wave of excellent award season buzz, star power, and existing brand awareness on its way to a leggy end-of-year run. That being said, The Martian and Gravity belong in the conversation at this point thanks to stellar pre-sale activity reported by Fandango, even though neither of those films opened with the same level of new release competition (however indirect) like Venom will present. We’re expecting walk-up business not present in pre-release sales or tracking to be a major component of Star‘s actual business.

Like those past October releases, we’re expecting Star will enjoy a long life beyond opening weekend with a domestic run that could rival or exceed The Greatest Showman ($174 million), La La Land ($151 million), and Les Miserables ($149 million).

Top 10 Comparisons

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will amass at least $157 million. That would set a new all-time October record by 12 percent or more, passing the October 2 -4, 2015 frame when The Martian debuted as part of an overall $139.8 million top ten. It would also represent a 62 percent increase from the same frame last year, when Blade Runner 2049The Mountain Between Us, and My Little Pony: The Movie opened in a $97 million top ten market.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 7 % Change from Last Wknd
Venom Sony / Columbia $65,000,000 $65,000,000 NEW
A Star Is Born Warner Bros. $49,000,000 $49,000,000* NEW
Smallfoot Warner Bros. $14,500,000 $41,900,000 -37%
Night School Universal $13,600,000 $47,500,000 -50%
The House With A Clock In Its Walls Universal $6,900,000 $54,800,000 -45%

* = including pre-Thursday screenings


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Shawn Robbins

15 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Multiplex37 October 04, 2018

    Excellent work as always though methinks you might be running a bit low on Venom. Who’s with Big Mem on the 100mm+ train? Choo-choo!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Benji Tunnell October 04, 2018

      Toxic word of mouth has already discouraged some audience. I and several I know went from must see to wait until Netflix.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        AnthonyD October 04, 2018

        Have you seen Big Mem’s track record? If he says 100+, it’ll be 100+.

        Reply
      • Avatar
        AnthonyD October 04, 2018

        Have you seen Big Mem’s track record? If he says it will top 100M I’m with him.

        Reply
      • Avatar
        Jacen October 04, 2018

        I was cautiously hopeful, but the trailers and the negative reviews put me in that rental camp. Redbox for me when I need my bad action movie fix. To that end, I might rent Purge 0 tonight.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Michael Jones October 04, 2018

      Dont think do think 60 is accurate

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Jacen October 04, 2018

      Exploding/Imploding Kittens say, “That’s a nope sandwich with a side of nope sauce.” And the Nope Ninja agrees.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Delfra October 04, 2018

      Nah, “Venom” has absolutely no shot at a $100m opening weekend. I think this prediction is right on the money, somewhere between $60-$70m opening weekend sounds about right.

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    The Prognosticator October 04, 2018

    VENOM overperforms those numbers, STAR underperforms those numbers. STAR is – at best – a two quad film (young women, cat ladies); VENOM is a three quad film (young men, old men, young women who regularly attend male-oriented films on dates, even though men don’t reciprocate, hence STAR’s two quad). STAR’s going to experience the “LIFE ITSELF” effect – it’s massively overhyped and far darker in tone and lighter on glam vis-a-vis LA LA LAND, which is its comp but was a strong four quad movie.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    RussVB October 04, 2018

    Also this weekend:
    Disney continues the 2018 “100+ for everything” plan —
    Christopher Robin gets +968 theaters, 2.4 M to go.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Thomas Stidman October 04, 2018

    I think Venom does about $45 million and A Star is Born does $50-55 million to win the weekend. It could come to actual numbers Monday. The critic buzz around Venom is so bad that it will drive folks away. Venom was a second weekend to a wait until Netflix film for me. I’m excited for A Star is Born and lots of older adults will show as well.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Fred October 04, 2018

      I think you’re lowballing “Venom”, I definitely see it making more than $45m this weekend. But you’re prediction on “A Star Is Born” could turn out to be true, I think it makes at least $40m this weekend but I could see it topping $50m this weekend too.

      Reply
  5. Avatar
    David Howell October 04, 2018

    This could be an entertaining test of the power of RT numbers. If they’re as powerful as some have made out, A Star Is Born has an honest-to-goodness shot of winning the weekend, or at the very least Sunday (Venom will have by far the biggest opening “day” ever seen in October). But are they? The Meg and Night School didn’t need RT help to do very solid business indeed…

    I’m scared to begin to predict this weekend. But I do think Venom failing to win it is legitimately in play. Whenever a film keeps on seeing its tracking go up and up, the actuals tend to be higher still…

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Ben October 04, 2018

    I see venom barely hitting 60 or maybe mid to high fifties and Star is born maybe hitting forty but more likely around 35-37. Night School should dip a good bit. Smallfoot will probably hold well and same with the Clock movie
    Overall I predict about 55-62 for Venom and 35-45 for Star is Born but expecting Star to top venom next weekend with a close to 70% drop for Venom and probably a 30-40 for SIB. Well see

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    The Wages of Cine October 05, 2018

    Not sure which film wins the week-end, but I am willing to be ‘Star’ outgrosses ‘Venom’ on Sunday, and then every day thereafter.

    Reply

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