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‘Venom’ and Lady Gaga Set October Box-Office Record

LOS ANGELES—Two new hit movies—“Venom” and “A Star Is Born”—gave Hollywood its best-ever October showing at the box office over the weekend.

“Venom,” a superhero spinoff starring Tom Hardy, collected a robust $80 million in first place, unseating the October opening record set by the $55.8 million debut of “Gravity” in 2013.

Bradley Cooper’s update to the show-business myth “A Star Is Born” followed with $42.6 million in second place, a solid start for a modestly budgeted drama that has drawn rave reviews from critics.

After several relatively quiet weeks at the box office, the arrival of “Venom” and “A Star Is Born” led an industrywide weekend tally of $174.5 million, a record for October.


Sony Pictures Entertainment, which released “Venom,” had a lot riding on the “Spider-Man” spinoff. Sony has the rights to several Marvel comic-book characters not controlled by

Walt Disney

, which bought Marvel Studios for $4 billion in 2009 and has since produced a hugely successful series of movies starring its superheroes.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in ‘A Star is Born.’


Clay Enos/Warner Bros./Associated Press

Marvel has rewritten the playbook for Hollywood studios, all of which now pursue big-budget franchises to anchor their slate of releases.

To establish its own franchise, Sony has been building out its roster of superheroes in recent years, and had a hit when it co-produced “Spider-Man: Homecoming” with Marvel last year. Another “Spider-Man” feature, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” will follow in December.

The “Venom” opening is “a validation of the appeal of characters in the ‘Spider-Man’ universe,” said Steven O’Dell, president of international distribution.

“Venom” collected an additional $125 million from overseas markets.

If “Venom” is an example of the franchise-focused new Hollywood, “A Star Is Born” is something of a throwback to star-driven, song-and-dance storytelling.

The drama, starring Lady Gaga as a singer who finds stardom and romance with an alcoholic crooner (Mr. Cooper), is the fourth iteration of the Hollywood love story. It was released by


Warner Bros.

The movie’s soundtrack, featuring new songs by Lady Gaga, was No. 1 in the music section of Apple’s iTunes Store on Sunday.

About two-thirds of the movie’s opening-weekend audience was older than 35, an indication that the film is attracting an older crowd that will keep filling seats in the weeks to come, said Warner distribution chief Jeff Goldstein.

“This is a movie that’s going to be around for months, through awards season,” said Mr. Goldstein.

Write to Erich Schwartzel at [email protected]

Source : WSJ

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