Andy Serkis’ first major work as a director, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, had an incredible opening weekend with $90 million in tickets sold over its first three days of release in the U.S. Despite getting a score of 47/100 on Metacritic, the flick is getting some good word of mouth.
Starring Tom Hardy as the titular character, Woody Harrelson as the antagonist, and Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris in supporting rolls, Venom was shot by the legendary Robert Richardson to look like something of a vintage David Cronenberg flick but, of course, with a whole lot of fancy special effects that didn’t exist in Cronenberg’s initial heyday.
From the footage I’ve seen, the movie looks gorgeous, inventive, and fun. I’m clearly not a fan of superheroes, but I love Robert Richardson and would love to see Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson square off. It’s not a movie I’ll see in the theater, but one I’ll definitely check out eventually. It’ll be fun, going forward, to see how this one does. At the rate it’s going, it could end up being the highest-grossing film of 2021.
I’d obviously prefer the biggest film of the year be a non-Marvel film, but I like the crew of Serkis, Richardson, Hardy, Williams, Harris, and especially Harrelson, and knowing that they might end up being the biggest movie stars of the year feels fine to me. Here’s hoping Hardy can flip his status into getting some backing for some more interesting, artful projects. I think he will.
The Addams Family 2, as expected, took the No. 2 spot at the U.S. box over the weekend, selling $18 million in tickets to a bunch of lil’ kiddos over its first three days of release. Lots of competition, so while $18 million doesn’t sound like much, all things considered, I think the Family is probably pretty happy. This one will sell tickets for a while, as all good children’s films do, and will have a huge run as a streaming property. Looks cute and fun.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continued to roll, taking the No. 3 spot over the weekend, selling another $6 million, upping the flick’s worldwide sales total to $386 million over five weeks. Huge numbers for the Covid era.
The Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, had a disappointing opening weekend, taking the No. 4 spot at the box with just $5 million in sales. Woof. That hurts. But here’s the thing about it: most Sopranos fanatics are between the age of 40 and 60, and those folks aren’t going to the movies much these days. Also, Saints is available on HBO Max, and it did quite well over the weekend on that service. Reviews and word-of-mouth are ho-hum, but I thought it was fantastic. I would follow David Chase into the fire.
Dear Evan Hansen continued to flop, taking the No. 5 spot at the box over its second weekend of release, selling just $2.45 million. So far Hansen has sold just $11 million. Ouchie.
Neon’s Titane opened on 562 screens around the country and brought in about a half million in sales. Not great, but this isn’t the type of movie that’s going to sell a whole lot of tickets outside of major metropolitan areas. Directed by Julia Ducournau (Raw), I think this one looks fantastic. Don’t be surprised if this one ends up on a lot of year-end lists.
Finally, it’s here. Now I’m not a big James Bond guy, but this run with Daniel Craig as Bond, which ends with this film, has been very good. So now, finally, after being held for over a year due to Covid, we get the much anticipated No Time To Die.
This one is significant, not just because it’s Bond and it’s Craig’s last time playing the character, but because just about everyone working on the movie is brilliant. Cary Joji Fukunaga directed the film, Linus Sandgren shot it, Hans Zimmer did the score, and Billie Eilish did the theme song. Oh, and check out the supporting cast: Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes. Wow. That has to be one of the best casts of the year.
Also, I could see this one getting a lot of nominations for technical and production awards. Should be a big, fun opening weekend for Craig and the gang.
Also out everywhere this weekend is, well, nothing. No one wants to go up against Bond, Shang-Chi and Venom. That last sentence leaves me wondering something: Why do you all, the general movie-going public, only seem to like movies in which people beat each other up?
Remember when there was a variety of movies in the Top 5 every week? I miss that. I love the movies, and am terrified by how much diversity the U.S. film industry has lost in their stories over the last 10 years. If film is the world’s current version of grand modern art, it’s tragic that it’s been so dumbed down. Punch, punch, bang, bang. See ya next week, nerds.