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Critically panned Venom tightens grip on US box office

Los Angeles

SONY'S superhero film Venom held onto the lead last weekend in North American box offices, again followed by last weekend's No 2 A Star is Born, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday.

Venom took in an estimated US$35.7 million for the three-day weekend, dropping from last weekend's US$80 million, while Warner Bros' well-reviewed A Star is Born had US$28 million in ticket sales, down from US$41.2 million.

Universal's highly touted astronaut drama First Man, from Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle, took in just US$16.5 million in its opening weekend, to place third.

Venom stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who becomes the superpowerful host for an alien symbiote; his character is a villain in the Spider-Man universe.

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Panned by critics, the film, which also stars Michelle Williams, nevertheless has had strong global ticket sales.

A Star Is Born, the third remake of a 1937 film by the same name, marks the directing debut of actor Bradley Cooper, who plays a hard-drinking country/rock musician who falls for a young singer played by pop superstar Lady Gaga, only to see her star rise as his tumbles.

First Man opened with high expectations, reuniting Chazelle with Ryan Gosling, his star from popular musical La La Land.

Because of its adult-skewing audience, analysts predict a long run for the film, which recounts Neil Armstrong's journey to the moon in 1969.

Fourth place went to Sony's Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, which had ticket sales of US$16.2 million. The family-friendly sequel, based on the children's book series by R L Stine, stars Wendi McLendon-Covey and Madison Iseman.

In fifth place was Warner Bros animation Smallfoot, with earnings of US$9.3 million. The comic film flips the usual Bigfoot tale on its head, telling the story of a group of Yetis terrified when they come across a human. AFP

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