As recently as this week, Sony was very conservatively estimating a $40 million three-day opening weekend for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which felt a little on the low side. After all, it’s one of the most hotly-anticipated blockbusters of the year, one that’s gone all-out to mount a massive marketing blitz to get audiences into theaters.
More generous projections had the superhero sequel debuting in the $60 million range, and that looks a lot more likely now that the Thursday figures are in. As per Deadline, Let There Be Carnage nabbed $11.6 million from preview screenings, which is the second-highest tally of the pandemic era.
Black Widow set the benchmark back in July by hauling in $13.2 million, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings the current runner-up with $8.8 million, although the Marvel Cinematic Universe smash hit started previews two hours later than the Venom sequel.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is enjoying reviews almost twice as strong as its predecessor, although that still only accounts for a Rotten Tomatoes score of 59%, the audience rating is at a much stronger 80%. As things stand, Andy Serkis’ second installment is well-placed to blitz past $60 million by the end of play on Sunday, but at the very least it’s guaranteed status as one of the pandemic’s four biggest-earning debutants behind Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and Fast & Furious 9.