Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong/Apollo 11 biopic, First Man, debuts in theaters this weekend and is a serious Oscar contender, but the space race drama will not take the top spot at the box office, expected to lose to another space-related movie, Sony's Venom.
Despite mixed reviews from critics, Venom is set to bond with the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office for the second week in a row, with an estimated $32 million, bringing its current total to $139.25 million.
Directed by Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer, the comic book flick stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a down-on-his-luck investigative reporter, who becomes a superhero (bordering more on antihero) when an alien Symbiote known as Venom enters his body, which just happens to be a perfect environment for the extraterrestrial goo.
First Man should land on the third domestic spot (behind Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star Is Born) with around $16.8 million, a slightly disappointing figure from predictions that put the historical movie in the $17 - $20 million range. Telling the story of the first-ever moon landing in the summer of 1969, First Man stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife, Janet.
Also in the running this weekend is Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, a sequel to the 2015 film based on the books of R.L. Stine. The follow-up should come in fourth with $16 million. That's a little less than half of the project's production budget of $35 million.
Drew Goddard's mystery/thriller/noir Bad Times at the El Royale should take fifth with a meager $7.8 million. Boasting incredible production design and an ensemble dream cast, the movie takes a darker look at the late 1960s, exploring subjects like the psychological effect of the Vietnam War and the draw of Manson-ish hippie cults.