There’s nothing like parasitically attaching yourself to the success of others, and Sony Pictures co-president Sanford Panitch has decided that Venom 2, featuring Woody Harrelson in a bright red wig and then turning into a red jelly man, is partly to thank for the success of the Tom Cruise-led, the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun.
In a spiel to Vulture (the publication, not the Spider-Man villain) about the return of movies to cinemas in a post-pandemic world, Panitch spoke of the early process of bringing people back into theaters. Big-upping his company’s decision to put Venom, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Spider-Man: No Way Home into cinemas last year, he spoke of how he believes this sets a precedent.
“When we first started releasing movies last October, there were really no other big movies. Everyone had pushed their big movies to this year, to this summer. We took a big gamble putting Venom in theaters. Then we doubled down with Ghostbusters. Then our biggest bet was when every other tentpole had fled, we tripled down with Spider-Man — our biggest, most important piece of IP.”
Perhaps even funnier than his next statement is believing that putting Spider-Man: No Way Home was in any way a risk. One of the biggest film franchises in the world with possibly the most well-known hero in the world. However, all that pales in comparison to the idea that Venom was “seeding” for Top Gun’s success.
“In a weird way, I would say Top Gun is benefitting from us taking our shot. Venom is the start of that story that allows Top Gun to do the kind of business it did. These things don’t happen overnight. It’s a seeding.”
Venom 2 was indeed a box office success, grossing $500 million from an estimated budget of $200 million (filming budget of $110 million, double that for marketing). Top Gun: Maverick, meanwhile, has made $1.2 billion at the box office, putting it comfortably ahead and arguably not even in the same galaxy.