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Differences in culture and taste sometimes mean that movies that are a hit in one country bomb in another. For example, Johnny English Strikes Again never cracked the top 10 in North America, but it is a hit overseas. Likewise, Star Wars is a massive cultural event domestically, but China basically couldn't care less about the galaxy far, far away. Symbiotes however, are universal, as Venom, which enjoyed great success domestically, is proving to be a huge hit with international audiences as well.
The big driver of Venom's international success is China, where the film enjoyed a record opening weekend of $111 million, the second best for a superhero film in the country. Venom barely slowed down in its second weekend in the Middle Kingdom, dropping only 14% to take in $87.2 million. That puts Venom's 10-day total in the country at $187 million, according to Variety.
Part of Venom's second weekend success in China seems to have stemmed from exhibitors taking away from new release Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to give the symbiote more play on screens starting Saturday. There also seemed to be an impulse among some moviegoers to go see Venom as a way to honor the co-creator of Spider-Man, Stan Lee, who died last week.
That second weekend performance is expected to be the best second weekend ever in China for a superhero movie, and Venom isn't done yet. The huge opening weekend and the small second weekend drop-off puts Venom's Chinese box office on track to eclipse its $210 million North American run.
On top of its $210 million domestic box office, Venom is sitting at $570.5 million internationally and $780.6 million worldwide, and that's before counting China's second weekend. Venom has already bit the head off Deadpool 2 to land in the number 7 spot on the worldwide yearly charts. When it's all said and done, Ruben Fleischer's film should pass the $800 million mark, putting it in fifth place, ahead of Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
Clearly the symbiote is *ahem* connecting with people, and not just in China and North America either. According to Box Office Mojo, some other notable contributors to Venom's impressive run are South Korea and Russia, where Venom collected $30+ million a piece. Venom also earned $26 million in the United Kingdom, $19 million in France and $18.7 million in Brazil.
The international box office, especially in China, is increasingly important for movie studios as they make movies for a global market and seek global dollars. Domestic performance is no longer a definite make or break for a film, as overseas box office can provide multiples of a film's domestic run. That Venom has struck such a major cord with international audiences bodes extremely well for the inevitable Venom sequel and possibly the rest of Sony's expanding Spider-Verse.
Venom is now playing. Check out our Holiday Movie Guide for all the biggest movies coming to theaters this holiday season.