One small step for man, one…equally small opening weekend for FIRST MAN, director Damien Chazelle‘s Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling. The film faltered right off the launching pad, taking in $16.5 million in its first weekend in theaters.
FIRST MAN is a massive hit with critics, with most noting the way Chazelle emphasizes the mix of terror and drama that comes with blasting yourself into outer space, with a huge assist from sound designer Ai-Ling Lee and cinematographer Linus Sandgren. Universal’s hope is that these glowing reviews translate into a long, long run for FIRST MAN into awards season, where the film will inevitably be nominated for most of the Oscars’ major categories. It’s worth noting that First Man has a not-as-enthusiastic B+ CinemaScore.
Meanwhile, Sony’s record-breaking VENOM and Bradley Cooper‘s directorial debut A STAR IS BORN still have a firm grasp on the box office in their second weekends. Venom fell off 55%—not great, but less than expected—to take in $35.7 million, while the Lady Gaga-starring STAR IS BORN ran nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with the Marvel symbiote, nabbing $28 million.
The disappointing surprise of the weekend is Drew Goddard‘s BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE, a star-studded puzzle box that only managed to earn a lackluster $7.2 million. The film is Goddard’s first directing project since 2012’s super fun CABIN IN THE WOODS, and is top-lined by mega-stars like Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, and Jeff Bridges. It could be the competition, it could be the film’s R-rating or ambiguous marketing, or it could be that the brief shot of Hemsworth dancing in the trailer was too sensual for mortal minds. Hard to say, really.
Check out the weekend’s top 10 estimates below, and be back here next week to see if David Gordon Green‘s HALLOWEEN reboot can scare up any money.
1. Venom $35.7M
2. A Star Is Born $28M
3. First Man $16.5M
4. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween $16.22N
5. Smallfoot $9.3M
6. Night School $8.03M
7. Bad Times at the El Royale $7.22M
8. The House with a Clock in Its Walls $3.97M
9. The Hate U Give $1.76M
10. A Simple Favor $1.38M