Venom 2 Is A Perfect Example Of Post-Pandemic Box Office Success

After pulling in $90 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, Venom: Let There Be Carnage had the biggest opening weekend in 2021. This is the case of a true box office success in the post-pandemic world. There have indeed been several box office hits, but there have also been many misses, and even the year’s top films are disappointing when compared to pre-pandemic box office trends.

Changes in the COVID-19 market have had a profound impact on box office revenues

empty theatre seats covid

The fast-disappearing ticket sales had been trending downward for 20 years before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the arrival of Coronavirus accelerated the decline. Even the biggest hits of 2021 would have been considered flops just a few years ago, as the 2020 box office was virtually non-existent. Despite its modest budget of approximately $200 million, Furious 9 is the most successful film of 2018, with a worldwide gross of $716 million. This still represents a significant drop for the franchise, as Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious grossed well north of $1 billion.

This film proves the value of theatrical exclusivity

Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Venom: Let There Be Carnage

While several blockbusters have seen $70 million or more opening weekends domestically, Venom: Let There Be Carnage stands alone as an unquestionably successful movie. This includes A Quiet Place Part II, Candyman, and other horror films. Over $90 million on an opening day makes it the biggest of the year. Third, it’s the only franchise film in 2021 that opened higher than its predecessor. Fourth, it’s the cheapest of the top 10 highest-grossing movies of 2021, except for A Quiet Place Part II.

Combined, these factors make Venom: Let There Be Carnage an undeniable success at the box office in 2021, aside from Free Guy, which saw its opening take in $321 million, despite a budget of $100-125 million. Putting that aside, it is hard to ascertain how it would have fared if the pandemic hadn’t occurred.

Regardless, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the only 2021 movie producing the kinds of box office numbers we would have expected pre-pandemic, showing the right kind of movie can still see real success at the box office. While the genre and style are unmistakably different from Christopher Nolan’s next film, the film’s lower budget (for a blockbuster) and theatrical exclusivity add validity to Universal’s negotiated release approach. Of course, assuming this kind of performance continues, Venom: Let There Be Carnage will still fall short of the sorts of numbers we would have anticipated from the year’s biggest movie in the past, but for a new normal, the mix of its budget and box office demonstrates a path forward for the profitability of the cinematic experience.


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