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‘Venom,’ ‘Star’ again top North American films

Oct 16,2018
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LOS ANGELES - The Neil Armstrong film “First Man’’ settled for a third-place landing at the North American box office in its opening weekend in theaters. The Ryan Gosling film and a host of newcomers, like the family-friendly “Goosebumps’’ sequel and the neo-noir mystery “Bad Times at the El Royale,’’ couldn’t unseat last week’s top two films, “Venom’’ and “A Star Is Born,’’ which again took first and second place.’

The crowded marketplace can be a blessing or a curse for some films in their first weekends, although the hope is that they will play for weeks to come. Such is the idea for Universal Pictures’ “First Man,’’ which took flight over the weekend with everything to its advantage - prestige, good reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), a movie star (Gosling) and an Oscar-winning director (Damien Chazelle).

Studios estimated Sunday that “First Man’’ earned $16.5 million in ticket sales from 3,640 North American theaters, and $25 million worldwide. That was on par with expectations, but not an eye-popping number for a space epic that cost nearly $60 million to produce.

For Universal Pictures’ president of domestic distribution Jim Orr, the box office intake for a film like “First Man,’’ which primarily appeals to older audiences not inclined to rush out to a movie theater on the first weekend, is going to be “a marathon, not a sprint.’’

Audiences for the PG-13 rated “First Man’’ were primarily older (52 percent over 35), male (56 percent) and Caucasian (67 percent) and gave the film a B+ CinemaScore.

The comic book film “Venom,’’ meanwhile, continues to belie poor reviews in its second weekend in theaters. Sony Pictures estimated the film added $35.7 million in ticket sales, down 56 percent from its first weekend, to repeat at No. 1. The film has earned $142.8 million to date from North American theaters.

On the other end of the critical spectrum, Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born’’ continued to ride a wave of goodwill and awards buzz into its second weekend, adding $28 million for a total domestic gross of $94.2 million.

AP