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If you were to compile a list of the top ten most popular comic book characters, there's a solid possibility that Venom wouldn't make that list. Three characters who almost certainly would are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, DC's trinity of heroes who form the core of the Justice League. That's part of what makes Venom's commercial performance so impressive, as Sony's Spider-Verse flick has now passed Warner Bros.' Justice League at the box office.
The symbiote felled Superman and Co. on the strength of its opening in China, where the film debuted this past Friday. After a $34.2 million opening day in China, Venom exceeded expectations and then some, raking in a $111 million opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. That, along with the money Venom made domestically and in other markets over the weekend, vaults Sony's film to almost $675 million worldwide, well above Justice League's $657.9 million total, as noted by Cnet.
The $111 million Chinese opening is the best any Sony film has ever done in the country and it is the second best opening for a superhero movie there, behind Avengers: Infinity War's $191 million. Venom isn't done either; it still has the rest of its run in China and other overseas markets to go, as well as what's left of its domestic run, which pulled in $4.85 million this weekend.
Venom currently sits at $206.2 million at the domestic box office, which still trails Justice League's $229 million, but in terms of total dollars from all markets, Venom has easily surpassed Justice League. This fact might seem like a way to rub salt in Justice League's wounds, but it does tell us a lot about how remarkable Venom's performance has been.
Movie fans that follow comic book films and the box office closely approached both Venom and Justice League with trepidation, the former because of its lack of an R rating and the absence of Spider-Man, and the latter because of the track record of previous DCEU films. Yet it is hard to argue that the characters of Justice League don't have more name recognition and brand awareness than Venom among the laymen.
Justice League also followed the financial successes, if not critical, of Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman, the latter two of which both crossed $800 million worldwide. So there was an established product to build upon. Justice League also fared better than Venom critically, but audiences seemed to connect with the parasite in a way they didn't with DC's finest.
Perhaps it is the appeal of an anti-hero or a superhero movie that appeared different than what audiences are used to, but either way, Venom's success is impressive and made all the more so by what it has surpassed, like Justice League.
So while Warner Bros. is seemingly reorganizing and taking things one step at a time following several missteps, Sony's universe and a Venom sequel are likely full steam ahead. Sony's Spider-Verse already had a bunch of films in the works, and now, given the audience reception and box office of the Tom Hardy movie, Sony is in a position to challenge for the #2 spot on the superhero cinematic universe leaderboard.
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