By Chris Kavan - 10/06/21 at 04:30 PM CT
A huge amount of ratings this week but just a tiny bit worth mentioning - and both are streaming this time. But the box office continues to provide plenty worth talking about as Venom: Let There Be Carnage made a huge splash on the domestic front while 007 in No Time to Die did the same thing overseas - both pointing to a resurgent box office this fall.
On the box office front a new 2021 opening weekend champion was crowned as Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened to $90 million - easily topping the $80.4 million record previously held by Black Widow. It also topped the original film's $80.2 million debut and while not officially part of the MCU canon - performed exactly like a Marvel film should. It's opening blew past pretty much every estimate (which were in the $70-$80 million range) going into the weekend and while critics gave it a better score than the original, it still sits at 59% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were much more receptive, awarding it a "B+" - and, no surprise, 62% of said audience was male (25% coming in under 25). The big question is whether Let There Be Carnage is going to have a bright future or if it is going to burn out quick. Unlike Shang-Chi, which had almost no competition in its first month, Venom is going to face No Time to Die right away, with Halloween Kills and Dune also on the near horizon. We'll know better after this coming weekend, but even if it does flame out, it has already proven a jolt to the box office. Venom has only opened in a handful of foreign markets, brining in $13.8 million overseas, which was still enough to cross $100 million worldwide.
Coming in second was another newcomer in The Addams Family 2. Not too long ago there was a question of whether this was going straight to streaming, but it seems releasing it in theaters was a good idea after all. With $17.3 million, the animated sequel served up a solid opening - while it was also available on premium VOD for $19.99. That opening it below the $30.2 million of the original, but family films have had a rough patch and I would call this opening a win. The original voice cast all returned including the likes of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron and Chloe Grace Moretz. Critic were not kind, leaving things at 27% rotten but audiences were much more receptive with a solid "B" Cinemascore. We'll see if this one continues to at least get a Halloween-adjacent boost through October.
In third place Disney's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings slipped 53% in the face of Venom, adding $6.1 million and crossing the $200 million mark with $206.1 million total. It joins Black Widow as the only film of 2021 to cross that mark (so far). Adding in $180.8 million overseas total and Shang-Chi is fast approaching $400 million worldwide with $386.9 million and counting.
While there was plenty of good new at the box office, there was one major disappointment as well and that was with The Many Saints of Newark, the Sopranos prequel with Michael Gandolfini playing a young Tony Soporano, a role his late father James Gandolfini perfected. Those are some big shoes to fill but he was far from alone with an all-star cast including Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Leslie Odom Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Michael Imperioli, John Magaro and Billy Magnussen all on board. The film could only bring in $4.65 million - and while it was readily available on HBO Max as well, that opening still looks quite tepid. Response was opposite of every other film as critics were kind with a 74% Rotten Tomatoes score but audiences were much harsher, giving it only a "C+" Cinemsascore, which doesn't bode well for any kind of longevity. Best guess? Maybe a Sopranos prequel just wasn't something audiences were ready to embrace.
Rounding out the top five, Dear Evan Hanson took a nearly 67% tumble over its lackluster opening, bringing in $2.47 million for a weak $11.82 million total. No surprise that a lackluster opening leads to cratering in the second weekend. This is bound for home viewing much quicker than anticipated, not that I think it's going to make much difference at this point.
The box office party doesn't stop at the domestic front, however, as the last outing for Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time to Die opened with an impressive $119 million (not including China) - which nearly matched the opening for Spectre (at $123 million). Those are some impressive numbers and I think the spy outing will provide some likewise eye-popping numbers when it debuts on the domestic front this weekend.
All the fireworks really were at the box office as this week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin certainly has a lot of films - but barely any to talk about. In fact, the biggest two are in the streaming category but at least they both should be on the top tier for their respective platforms.
With streaming wars continuing to heat up, it's no wonder Netfilx is bringing out the big guns for Red Notice - in both the figurative and literal sense. The film stars a trio of some of the biggest stars right now in Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds. That kind of setup means we're going to have plenty of action along with some comedy. Johnson is agent extraordinaire John Hartley who finds himself on the trail of criminal rivals Nolan Booth (Reynolds) and Sarah Black (Gadot), both who are planning the same daring heist. When all three come together - well, all hell breaks loose, of course. Chris Diamantopoulos and Ritu Arya help round out the cast. I have no problem admitting that Netflix films can suffer from quality control issues but damn this is a fine, fun cast and I really hope it can find a great balance between the three. Rated PG-13 for violence and action, some sexual references and strong language.
While Red Notice is taking a fun, action-packed romp, Amazon is going full-on drama with The Tender Bar. Based no the memoir from author J. R. Moehringer, the film follows a life of a boy, a single mother and a group of bar patrons who become surrogate fathers-by-committee. In this adaptation, Tye Sheridan plays the young man, Lily Rabe his single mom and Ben Affleck his Uncle Charlie, who runs the bar. But the film features a great lineup of actors with Christopher Lloyd, Max Martini, Max Casella and Rhenzy Feliz helping things along. The film is also directed by George Clooney - who might not have a perfect track record, but better than average for sure. If the film can capture the drama without playing things too saccharine, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it garners some awards attention. Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content.
That's the most relevant content for this week, but you can check out the otherwise extensive MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
A CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS: CITY LIGHTS
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material.
CLINT EASTWOOD: A CINEMATIC LEGACY
Rated PG-13 for some strong violent content, language, thematic elements, brief drug material and smoking.
DEATH OF A TELEMARKETER
Rated R for language throughout, some violence and sexual references.
Rated R for sexual content, drug use, language throughout and brief nudity.
Rated PG for some rude humor and thematic elements.
THE FIRST WAVE
Rated R for some language.
Rated PG-13 for thematic content, disturbing images and strong language.
Rated R for some violence and sexuality.
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and language.
I AM HERE
Rated PG-13 for Holocaust-related thematic content, disturbing images and violence.
INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES
Rated PG-13 for some strong language, sexual material, and brief drug references.
THE LAST SON
Rated R for violence throughout, some sexual content, nudity and language.
THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE - THE AGE OF ELOHIM
Rated PG for violence and destruction, language and thematic elements.
ORPHAN: FIRST KILL
Rated R for bloody violence, language and brief sexual content.
Rated R for some sexuality.
Rated PG-13 for violence and action, some sexual references and strong language.
Rated PG for thematic material involving peril and some language.
Rated R for language.
THE TENDER BAR
Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content.
TRUE TO THE GAME 3
Rated R for violence and pervasive language.