Pandemic moviegoing is finally starting to look like pre-pandemic moviegoing. Sony Pictures’ Marvel sequel “Venom: Let There Carnage” blew away ticket sales with $ 90.1 million, beating studio estimates that Sunday would be the best start to the epidemic.

“Venom: Let There Be Carnage” opens almost halfway through. But the film, which is being screened exclusively in theaters, has even surpassed the 2018 original. The “Venom,” “Spider-Man” branch, which introduced Tom Hardy’s parasitic alien symbiosis, was launched with $ 80.3 million. In 2019, only the “Joker” ($ 96.2 million) opened in October.

The result – along with it Strong international sales for the James Bond film No Time to Die – The best news for movie theaters for over 18 months.

“Apologies to Mr. Twain: The death of the movies is a great exaggeration,” said Tom Rothman, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures’ motion picture group.

Both “Let There Be Carnage” and MGM’s “No Time to Die” actually opened last year. Believing in the best box office revenue comes with a special release in theaters, both studios (which do not have a major streaming platform) are maintained for better moviegoing conditions. Over the weekend, their expectation was rewarded.

“No Time to Die” opened in North America on Friday with $ 119.1 million in 54 overseas markets. According to MGM and Universal Pictures (which has several international rights) this speed is almost identical to the launch of “Skyfall”. Following the London premiere last week, “No Time to Die” – the 25th Bond film and Daniel Craig’s Last Outing as a Super Spy – grossed $ 25.6 million in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Saturday at $ 11.4 million, the best box office day of any Bond movie on its home turf.

Prior to “Let There Be Carnage”, the top pandemic openings were Walt Disney’s “Black Widow” ($ 80 million), “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” ($ 75 million) and Universal Pictures “Fast and Furious” Sequel “F9” ($ 70 million). “Black Widow” launched simultaneously in homes, sued by star Scarlett Johansson, who was settled last week. “Shang-chi,” “F9” and “Let There Be Carnage” only started in theaters.

Josh Greenstein, president of Sony Motion Pictures Group, said: “Movies become cultural when people see them together on bigger, better screens and have that experience as a group.” “You can’t replicate it at home yourself.”

After several delays, Sony eventually pushed ahead with the release of the “Venom” sequel directed by Andy Serkis and co-starred Woody Harrelson as Venom’s enemy Carnage. Abroad, it added $ 13.8 million to Russia.

“We looked at Shang-Chi’s health and gave us confidence that the box office would be back when production was in place,” said Sony Distribution Chief Adrian Smith. “Looking at the demand for theatricality is very confirmed.”

Marvel movies and big brand names are not making a quick comeback in all theaters. Family moviegoing is still as sluggish as ticket sales in art house theaters. Older audiences and families with unvaccinated children are more cautious.

The animated sequel “The Adams Family 2” from the release of MGM and United Artists launched at $ 18 million despite horrific reviews from critics (27% latest on Rotten Tomatoes). The film, a sequel to the 2019 cartoon reboot, was launched simultaneously on video on demand.

The prequel to “The Many Saints of Newark,” the long-awaited “The Sopranos” flop. The film was co-written by David Chase, creator of “Sopranos” and set decades before the Seminal HBO series, which opened with $ 5 million. Like all Warner Bros. films released in 2021, the film is being aired on HBO Max for subscribers – a number of filmmakers, including Chase, have declined. The studio has pledged to return to exclusive theatrical windows in 2022.

Julia Ducornou’s “Titan” winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this summer also struggled to make a splash in theaters. Wild Odyssey, about the serial-killing woman with a special bond with automobiles, raised $ 516,000 in 562 theaters for neon.

But spectacle films, especially those that appeal to young people, are making a bigger contribution to the film this year. Marvel’s “Shang-Chi”, the studio’s first film led by an Asian superhero, dominated theaters last month. It was previously the No. 1 film for four weeks in a row. This weekend “Shang-Chi” became the first film to cross $ 200 million domestically, grossing $ 206.1 million in the US and Canada and $ 386.9 million worldwide.

Large format screens can also help drive recovery. With $ 30 million in global sales, IMAX had the best October weekend. Imax Entertainment President Megan Colligan called it “proof of what box office potential is today”.

“These films may be over-performing, but the reality is that many are underestimating how eager global consumers are to return to the movies.”

Expected ticket sales from Friday to Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to ComScore. The final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

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