Villain ‘Venom’ is North American box office hero

Superhero blockbuster “Venom” saved the day at the North American box office this weekend, pulling in more than $80 million in ticket sales, industry data showed on Monday.

The film, a Spider-Man spinoff marking the official launch of Sony’s Marvel Universe, stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who becomes the host for an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.

The character is a villain in the “Spider-Man” comic book world.

Industry tracker Exhibitor Relations said the film took in $80.3 million.

That was enough to break October’s opening weekend record by more than $20 million, said another industry tracker, Box Office Mojo.

Another new release took second place. Musical romance “A Star Is Born” earned $42.9 million over the three-day weekend, Exhibitor Relations said.

The third remake of the 1937 film of the same name, it marks Bradley Cooper’s directing debut. He also stars as a musician who discovers and falls in love with a young singer played by pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Third place went to Warner Bros’s “Smallfoot,” with earnings of $14.4 million in its second weekend. The comic family animation tells the story of a group of Yeti who come across a human, with voicing by Channing Tatum, LeBron James and Danny DeVito.

Coming in fourth was last weekend’s champion, Universal’s “Night School,” whose earnings dropped $15 million to $12.5 million this weekend.

The raucous comedy stars Kevin Hart as one student in a class of misfits working toward high school diplomas under the firm tutelage of Tiffany Haddish.

Fifth place went to Universal’s family-friendly offering “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” which slipped from third place last weekend with takings of $7.3 million.

Rounding out this weekend’s top 10 were:

“A Simple Favor” ($3.4 million)

“The Nun” ($2.7 million)

“Crazy Rich Asians” ($2.2 million)

“Hell Fest” ($2.1 million)

“The Predator” ($947,000)

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