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Credit: Sony Pictures

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' beats out MCU's Shang-Chi, Black Widow for biggest box office opening of pandemic era

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Oct 4, 2021, 10:30 AM EDT

The box office crown officially belongs to Eddie Brock and Venom. Sony's Let There Be Carnage opened to an impressive $90.1 million in North America this past weekend, setting another impressive theatrical milestone in the age of COVID-19 (it also happens to be the second-best October debut in history after 2019's Joker).

Moreover, the Symbiote-based sequel (directed by Andy Serkis) has officially unseated Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernauts — Black Widow and Shang-Chi — for the largest domestic box office debut of the pandemic.

Of course, it is very possible that Marvel Studios will retake the heavyweight belt next month when Chloé Zhao's Eternals hits the big screen on Friday, Nov. 5. If that occurs, however, Sony still has a shot at redemption with Spider-Man: No Way Home, which swings into theaters everywhere on Friday, Dec. 17. That outcome is on the likelier side of the spectrum since the film's trailer already trumped Avengers: Endgame for the most amount of views in the first 24 hours of release.

But let's look at the bigger picture here. The Venom sequel's domestic performance is incredibly promising for the exclusive theatrical model, which seemed to be faltering for the last year-and-a-half. Just like Shang-Chi did last month with its historic Labor Day weekend opening, Let There Be Carnage proves that A) pre-pandemic ticket sales are not an obsolete relic of the past and B) we may very well see a return of $100+ million North American openings in the not-so-distant future.

**Spoiler warning ahead for Venom: Let There be Carnage!**

"The power of Venom to draw moviegoers to the cinema was on full display this weekend and demonstrated the ability of an edgy and interesting character outside of the MCU to create enough excitement among fans to drive massive box office numbers," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, told SYFY WIRE. "Given the incredible weekend results, the decision to team up with Venom and bring the character into the MCU fold is a stroke of genius and will add even more revenue generating horsepower to the Marvel Multiverse moving forward."

Globally, the movie has already crossed $100 million thanks to an $13.8 million assist from Russia.

No Time to Die hit 54 international markets over the weekend to the tune of $119.1 million (the first major film of the health crisis to break $100 million at launch without a boost from China). The 25th James Bond movie, which marks Daniel Craig's final outing as 007, will hit North American screens this coming Friday, Oct. 8.

Another studio tentpole, Warner Bros.' Dune, surpassed $100 million internationally two weeks before it's slated to arrive in the U.S. (where it will play in theaters and on HBO Max starting Friday, Oct. 22).

On a global scale, IMAX recorded its best October weekend ever with a take of $30 million (also the company's best worldwide showing since December of 2019 when The Rise of Skywalker first opened).

"This weekend was an unqualified success, proving what today’s box office is capable of — not just with select regions or releases, but with a diverse offering of great content across every key region,” Megan Colligan, President of IMAX Entertainment, said in a statement. “The perception may be that these films are over-performing, but the reality is that many people are underestimating just how excited global consumers are to get back to the movies."