Venom is being positioned as a key tentpole for Sony, but how much did the studio spend on it? Though Spider-Man is now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to Sony's groundbreaking deal with Marvel, the former still maintains the film rights to some 900 characters from the comics, giving them plenty of material to mine through to create their own franchise. Sony is attempting to launch a universe populated by figures in Spider-Man's rogues' gallery, with plans for films about Morbius, Silver Sable & Black Cat, and others in place. As such, there's a lot riding on Venom, which needs to be successful in order to keep those dreams alive.
In terms of critical response, Venom is something of a mixed bag. Reviews indicate that it's a fun and entertaining time at the movies (largely due to the dynamic between Eddie Brock and Venom), though its execution comes across as somewhat dated when compared to other modern comic book movies. However, the real test for Venom will be its commercial performance. Estimates have it projected to break the all-time October opening weekend record, putting it in position to thrive.
Venom's production budget comes in at around $100 million, which is fairly modest when compared to similar titles. Ant-Man and the Wasp's price tag may have been as large as $195 million, while James Wan's upcoming Aquaman film reportedly has a budget of $160 million. Spider-Man: Homecoming (a joint venture between Sony and Marvel) cost $175 million to make.
With this information in mind, Venom needs to gross approximately $200 million worldwide in order to break even. Seeing that it's poised for a $175 million global debut, it should be able to easily pass that mark. Venom does not face much in the way of direct competition, with October seeing the long-awaited theatrical premieres of awards contenders like A Star is Born and First Man. Despite what Lady Gaga fans would have you believe, the target audience for Venom is quite different from this month's other releases, so the Marvel Comics adaptation is essentially going to run unopposed for the next few weeks. With the exception of The Predator in mid-September, there hasn't really been a major franchise release since Mission: Impossible - Fallout in July. General audiences are hungry for a genre picture.
Sony was wise to keep Venom costs down, as it was far from a guarantee it would be a box office hit. People were skeptical the character could work without Spider-Man, and some of the marketing materials didn't have the desired effect on viewers. Since the budget didn't spiral out of control, it puts Venom in a better position to turn a profit and secure the franchise's future. Hopefully for Sony, it all goes well and they can forge ahead with their slate.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018