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'Venom' and 'A Star Is Born': Two big films kick off a typically slow October

October is typically a slow month at the box office, a time reserved for schlocky horror movies as the studi...

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 11:57 AM
Updated: Oct 5, 2018 11:57 AM

October is typically a slow month at the box office, a time reserved for schlocky horror movies as the studios hold their blockbusters for the holiday season. Not this year, though.

Two movies opening this weekend are likely to be the latest evidence of something Hollywood appears to have realized over the past few years: Movies can do well no matter when in the year they're released.

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"Venom," a comic book movie starring Tom Hardy, is projected to bring in around $60 million when it opens this weekend, according to analysts. That would break the current October opening weekend record of $55.7 million held by 2013's "Gravity."

Also opening this weekend is the highly-anticipated "A Star Is Born," starring Lady Gaga in her first major film role and Bradley Cooper, who is also making his directorial debut.

"We have another great example of studios recognizing that audiences will come out to see high profile movies regardless of what the calendar says," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, told CNN Business. "Big box office hits aren't confined to summer and Christmas anymore. When the options are appealing, big movie season can be virtually year-round."

"A Star Is Born," which has a 94% score on review site Rotten Tomatoes, is expected to nab the No. 2 spot with a projected opening of around $30 million, according to analysts.

The film has gotten rave reviews since premiering in August at the Venice Film Festival. Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told CNN Business that "Venom" may win the box office battle this weekend, but "A Star Is Born" could have the longer run of success.

"['Venom'] could fail if fanboys and fangirls dismiss it as a cash-grab by Sony and cry foul on social media," Bock said. The movie currently has a 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Meanwhile, "A Star Is Born" could exceed expectations because it comes with big stars, awards buzz and a plot almost as old as Hollywood itself. This is the fourth "A Star Is Born" since 1937.

Alicia Malone, a correspondent for Fandango, believes that Cooper has successfully recreated an old movie about fame and fortune in Hollywood and made it relatable to a new audience.

"The exciting myth at the center of the story remains -- how fame can be given suddenly and taken away," Malone told CNN Business. "But this version also speaks to the idea of authenticity. This is a relatable concept in the age of social media, where anyone can create their own perfectly filtered brand and when so many of our music and film stars feel manufactured."

Lady Gaga, who has made appearances on TV shows, will be bringing her acting chops to the big screen for the first time.

"Every 'A Star Is Born' has had a powerhouse female star at the center, and Lady Gaga is certainly popular, but she's also an intriguing figure," Malone said. "Audiences will be curious about her acting ability and whether the story mirrors her own rise to fame."

The two movies kick off the year-end movie season at the box office, which is up roughly 8% from last year, according to comScore. The next installment of the "Harry Potter" series, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," "Aquaman" and "Mary Poppins Returns" are still on the docket for the rest of 2018.

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