Sony

'Venom' Ratings Are In, But They're Definitely Not What Fans Expected

Sony has not had much luck with the Spider-Man franchise since Marvel decided to start making their own superhero movies. Its first two Sam Raimi films with Toby McGuire were a smashing success, but by Spider-Man 3, everything was going downhill. Its desperate reboot with Andrew Garfield felt like exactly what it was: a Hail Mary play to keep the rights from reverting to Disney. Once it gave in and partnered with the MCU, things started looking better with Spider-Man: Homecoming. That's why it's such a disappointment now Venom's ratings are in, and the franchise seems to have gone backward.

The original 2002 Spider-Man was an out of the box success for Sony, suggesting sinking money into the right to the entire Spidey-verse was a smart play. Today the film stands at 90 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 2004's Spider-Man 2 did even better with critics, clocking in at 93 percent. But Spider-Man 3 fell to 63 percent, and The Amazing Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man 2 swung in at 72 percent and 52 percent respectively.

Homecoming saw an upswing back into success with a 92 percent rating. But Venom has unfortunately fallen utterly flat without his web-slinger friend as backup. As of this writing, the Tomatometer stands at an ugly 32 percent splat.

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The AV Club accuses the writers of not knowing what to do with an anti-superhero.

The filmmakers seem faintly aware that not all comic book characters are superheroes, but unsure of what else Venom could actually be.

Rolling Stone blames the insistence on a PG-13 rating as a significant hurdle.

Even the great Tom Hardy is defeated by this tone-deaf Marvel botch job, which delivers a puddle of simplistic, sanitized PG-13 drivel instead of the scary, dark-night-of-the-soul thunderbolt fans had every right to expect...

But the Chicago Tribune says even as a failure, the result is fascinating:

By far the best part of "Venom" aside from a scene where Eddie plunges himself into a restaurant lobster tank and tears into a live crustacean is the chemistry between Eddie and his parasite, Venom himself, who is cheeky and sardonic for an alien. They bicker like a married couple over when to eat, what to eat (there are rules about whose heads Venom is allowed to chomp), and how to approach Eddie's ex-fiancee, Anne.
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But these ratings are not expected to dampen Venom's box office potential. According to Deadline:

It has been awhile since there’s been a superhero movie, so Sony/Tencent’s Venom based on the Marvel property arrives with enough anticipation this frame to drive its opening weekend to an estimated $160 million-$175 million global start, with the domestic box office headed toward an October opening record of $60M-$65M at 4,250 theaters plus Imax. The latter would best the month’s current record-holder, Warner Bros’ Gravity, which opened to $55.7M in 2013.

Like DC Extended Universe films, this will probably prove to be a critic-proof film, at least for opening weekend. The real question is how hard it drops after the first weekend is over, and there are no pre-sale tickets to ride out the bad review tide.

Venom opens across the U.S. this coming Friday, Oct. 5, 2018.