After nearly four weeks of sinking its fangs into the Chinese box office, Sony’s Venom has been granted an extended run. Through Monday, the Tom Hardy-starrer has grossed $263.6M locally, taking the past frame at No. 2 behind China breakout A Cool Fish. It had earlier held No. 1 during its first two weeks of play, seeing an unprecedented hold at Middle Kingdom turnstiles.
Venom, which has a sizable investment from China behemoth Tencent, counts $846.9M worldwide through Monday and $634.6M at the international box office. In China, it is the 2nd biggest import of the year, behind only Avengers: Infinity War. It has been a crazy beast.
Adding about $1M per day in the midweeks, the Sony/Marvel symbiote will be impacted this weekend by the arrival of Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman which releases Friday. WB has dived in with both feet on Aquaman’s China opening which comes a week ahead of some major offshore bows and two weeks before its domestic debut.
The origin story will look to tap into China’s Transformers faithful: The past two films in that Michael Bay franchise, The Last Knight and Age Of Extinction made $229M and $320M, respectively. At the time of its release, Age Of Extinction set a record (since surpassed) for biggest import ever in the market.
The early January release date Bumblebee has landed upon will see it zoom in after a jam-packed December.
Before extending Venom’s China run, the powers that be also gave the go-ahead to several Hollywood titles in late November and early December. Those include Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, Crazy Rich Asians, Ralph Breaks The Internet and The Grinch (December 14). Of those, the former three have now released to mixed response. FB2 is tracking lower than the previous movie in the franchise, CRA was DOA and Ralph is on par or above other titles from the stable. Aquaman is next this weekend, followed by The Grinch on December 14.
The prevalence of studio pics comes despite the traditional year-end China blackout. It’s thought that the underperformance of local titles throughout the fall spurred authorities to pad out December, ensuring that overall box office growth for 2018 remains high.