Venom breaks China box office slowdown, becomes second biggest superhero film in country after Avengers: Infinity War

Surendhar MK

November 21, 2018 11:01:08 IST

The box office success of Venom, despite mixed reviews and poor domestic performance, is a significant milestone for Sony Pictures as it validates the studio's decision to churn out a Spider-Man spin-off against all the odds and harsh criticisms. The incredible numbers pulled off by the Tom Hardy-starrer at the Chinese box office have revived the world's second largest motion picture market from its two-month-long box office slump.

A still from Venom/Image from Twitter.

A still from Venom/Image from Twitter.

Venom has amassed a mind-blowing total of $215 million in China over 12 days. The Ruben Fleischer-directed film is currently the second biggest superhero title of all time in the Middle Kingdom, only behind Disney/Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War, which hauled in a massive total of $359.5 million and emerged as the third highest grossing import film in the PRC a few months  ago. Venom is now the highest earning solo superhero film of all time in China.

Ever since Venom landed in mainland screens on 9 November, it has been successfully topping the daily box office chart for 12 consecutive days, until 20 November. Despite a strong contender in Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, which released in China on 16 November and scored an excellent $37.57 million launch, Venom comfortably outpaced it by garnering a cumulative second weekend total of $51.34 million.

In fact, Venom's opening weekend bow of $111 million is the second best for a superhero film in the East Asian nation after Avengers: Infinity War scooped a mammoth $200 million (1.27 billion yuan) launch in May this year. In local currency, Venom has smashed the records of Dangal, Avatar, Ready Player One, The Meg, Rampage, Mission Impossible: Fallout and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to name a few, and is now the ninth biggest import film of all time in China. With a running total of 1.49 billion yuan, Venom will supplant the Chinese theatrical earnings of all time blockbusters, such as Zootopia (1.53 billion yuan), Transformers 5 (1.55 billion yuan) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (1.69 billion yuan).

Venom has also surpassed the cumulative revenue of domestic blockbusters such as Us and Them and The Island to become the ninth highest grossing film of 2018 in China. The Tom Hardy-fronted action drama is the seventh import film to sail past 1 billion yuan in the Middle Kingdom this year after Avengers: Infinity War, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ready Player One, The Meg, Rampage and Mission Impossible: Fallout. 

According to data from the National Film Bureau, China's 2018 box office share of import films until September stands at a record low of 33.51 percent against 46.16 percent of 2017 and 41.67 percent of 2016. So, the success of Venom and the decent opening of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which has earned $42.48 million over five days, are definitely a shot in the arm for import films at the sagging China box office, whose decline began during the National Day holiday period (1 to 7 October), when it recorded negative growth.

Venom, which provided Sony its biggest debut in China, has now eclipsed the worldwide total of Paramount's Mission Impossible: Fallout and Fox's Deadpool 2 to become the fifth top grossing worldwide film in 2018 after Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2. The PRC total of Venom at $215 million has also outperformed its lackluster domestic sales of $210 million. China is now the highest grossing territory for the film, just like Ready Player One, The Meg and Rampage.

Meanwhile, Indian film buffs in China are gearing up for the release of comedy-drama 102 Not Out, which is scheduled to release on 30 November. The film, which marked the coming together of Bollywood veterans Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor after 27 years on screen, will take on Hollywood blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians at the ticket window. It is the eighth Indian movie to release in the Middle Kingdom this year after Secret Superstar, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Hindi Medium, Baahubali 2: The ConclusionToilet: Ek Prem KathaSultan and Hichki.

Updated Date: Nov 21, 2018 11:12 AM