Tom Hardy Talks Critical Pans Of Venom, The Audience’s Reaction To It, And What He Wanted From The Sequel

Tom Hardy playing Venom

No one really knew what to expect from Ruben Fleischer’s Venom when it opened in theaters in 2018. Sony, by that stage, had loaned its prized possession Spider-Man out to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but was still attempting to tell stories in Spidey’s adjacent world, starting with the alien symbiote that takes over Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Critics weren’t kind to Venom, but fans seemed to wholeheartedly embrace the tone Hardy and Fleischer were going for in their solo film, which is about to spawn a larger sequel. Listen to Tom Hardy talk about the launch of Venom in our exclusive CinemaBlend interview above.

It’s a little easier for Tom Hardy to look back on Venom and laugh because he has the benefit of knowing that financially, the movie was a big success. Sony’s reported budget on the first film was in the $116 million range, while the movie went on to bank an astounding $856 million worldwide. Venom certainly is a popular comic book character, but every industry analyst tracking a Venom movie that couldn’t include Spider-Man anticipated a flop… or, at the very least, a mediocre return.

Instead, as Tom Hardy points out in our interview, the fans turned out, and kept coming back for repeat viewings, which he thoroughly enjoyed. As the actor told CinemaBlend:

I think with anything, you want something to do well that you care about. And obviously, it didn’t meet… it didn’t carry any water with the critics. (laughs) They literally panned us. But the audiences turned out in droves, which was what was so lovely about it. It was like watching an underdog be lifted up and be presented and enjoyed and relished for what it was.

I’m not sure any comic book property backed by a major studio can take the stance of “underdog,” but I do see Tom Hardy’s point. He was fronting a Venom movie that didn’t have Spider-Man, made by a studio that had pulled the plug on its own Spider-Man franchise. It might have been easy to say that Venom was set up to underachieve. But the moment that Hardy got a look at the box office receipts, he sprung into action. As he told CinemaBlend:

We got straight on the phone to Tom Rothman at Sony and said, ‘Look, can we put a pitch in to do the second one, because we’re really keen to take what we learned from the first and get on and start writing that second one. (To) get on the floor again and see if we can push it further.’

Tom Hardy couldn’t bring Ruben Fleischer along for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, but he and Woody Harrelson did convince Planet of the Apes and Lord of the Rings all-star Andy Serkis to take the reins, and we’ll soon see what they have cooked up. Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be in theaters beginning on Thursday night, Sept. 30, so make sure you have your tickets ready to go!

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.