Sep 24, 2020
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How ‘Venom’ Can Make Money And Still Be A Bomb

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Venom SONY A little over two years ago we got word that Paramount/Viacom Inc. was prepping a fourth Star Trek movie that could bring back Chris Hemsworth as Kirk s (Chris Pine) deceased dad. This was in mid-July and exactly five days before the domestic release of Star Trek Beyond. As I noted at the time it was a bluff a statement of a sequel before the present installment even opened in order to A) build interest in the third flick and B) create the impression that Justin Lin s well-reviewed follow-up to Star Trek Into Darkness was already a success

 

It didn t work as Beyond earned just $340 million worldwide on a $185m budget and both Pine and Hemsworth have (for the moment) walked faraway from the Star Trek 4 negotiating table. We are five days from the domestic debut of Sony s Venom. Sure enough producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach made headlines on Friday by touting the next movie in the Spider-Verse

 

Yes if Venom is a crowd-pleasing hit we ll get a Jared Leto-starring Morbius movie. Despite whether anyone actually wants this type of thing it s probably a better pre-release narrative than Tom Hardy lamenting 40 minutes of deleted scenes and the filmmakers justifying a PG-13 rating. But that puts additional pressure at the current Sony superhero offering

 

The $100 million-budgeted superhero flick isn t just tasked with making money. No its primary goal is to create the presumption of interest not just in itself or even a Venom and Carnage in the Big Balloon Adventure but in a whole cinematic universe featuring Spider-Man villains. What this implies is that it s not enough for Venom to be a hit

 

It s not even enough for Venom to be a passable matinee entertainment. No for Venom to be considered a hit it has to be more than enough to get folks excited about the notion of multiple Sony-produced superhero/anti-hero movies according to various Spider-Man villains. If it fails to do that whether it makes money then it can’t be considered an overall success

 

We saw this in 2016 when Batman v Superman made a whopping $330 million domestic and $873m worldwide but was considered an artistic failure that required a whole reshaping of the DCEU. We saw this in 2017 when Tom Cruise s The Mummy topped $400m worldwide but still marked the beginning and end of the Dark Universe

 

Folks didn t get excited about the assumption of a Marvel Cinematic Universe as a theoretical concept. They got excited when they saw and loved Iron Man and wanted more. The explanation that New Line and Warner Bros. /Time Warner Inc. pulled off their Conjuring Universe coup is that James Wan and friends began with a great stand-alone horror drama that earned strong reviews solid word-of-mouth and $319 million worldwide

 

They were able to sell Annabelle and The Nun as more of what you love. Ditto whatever comes next in WB and Legendary s monster universe after Godzilla and Skull Island. Even M. Night Shyamalan s upcoming Glass is able to sell itself as a cinematic universe pay-off flick (and a two-for-one sequel) only after offering two movies (Walt Disney s Unbreakable and Universal/Comcast Corp

 

s Split) that were stand-alone buzzy hits. PROMOTED Civic Nation BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
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If it stinks then Sony can either put the kibosh on it or spend the next year swearing that Morbius and Kraven would be nothing like the movie that was supposed to kick-start the universe. So yes Ruben Fleischer s Venom may get that $50 million+ debut weekend whether it s as good as Robert Downey Jr

 

s Iron Man or as bad as Tom Cruise s The Mummy. Where it goes from there is dependent on its quality and whether it can reach those not already excited about a Venom movie. Ironically the drive for spin-offs should create additional pressure to make a good movie. Because once you re responsible for starting and justifying a universe it s isn t almost money

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