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Barring a massive downturn from Tuesday to Wednesday, Sony and Columbia’s Venom will cross $150 million domestic sometime today or very early tomorrow. It has earned at least $385m worldwide, counting Monday and Tuesday overseas grosses, meaning it may cross $400m worldwide as it enters its third weekend of release. Either way, for a $100m-budgeted superhero movie, even getting to $150m domestic and $400m worldwide in total would have been a huge win. At a glance, depending on legs (and strength in China when it opens on Nov. 9), it may flirt with a $200m+ domestic and $650m+ global cume. Come what may, I would argue it is succeeding for at least three reasons very similar to the breakout success of Fox’s Deadpool 2.5 years ago.
The first and obvious lesson is that Suicide Squad ($325 million domestic/$745m worldwide), Deadpool ($363m/$783m) and Venom show that there are plenty of general moviegoers who were interested in seeing Harley Quinn, Wade Wilson and Eddie Brock in their own movies. Critics weren’t super-duper fond of at least two of those. But as someone who went zero-for-three in terms of positive reviews, I will maintain that the reasons that Deadpool scored are not that far off from why Venom is becoming a (thus far) borderline leggy hit. They are both unconventional romantic comedies when a romantic comedy by itself is an odd form for a superhero movie to assume. They both take a generic superhero origin story and drop a glorified agent of chaos into the mix.