Never underestimate the power of a symbiote.

Over the weekend, Venom: Let There Be Carnage crossed the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. That makes it just the second film since the pandemic began to earn that much money in the U.S. alone. (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the other). Those numbers are all the more impressive when you consider that the first Venom movie, released in late 2018 when the theatrical landscape was totally different, grossed $213.5 million in theaters. So the sequel has a chance to tie or surpass the original, in the middle of the Covid era. No wonder Sony is so bullish on continuing to mine Spider-Man comics for more spinoff superhero movies.

Here are the top-grossing movies of 2021 in the U.S. according to Box Office Mojo. Note that the top three films of the year are all based on Marvel comics (plus they can also claim credit for a fourth film in the top ten):

  1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - $224.3 million
  2. Venom: Let There Be Carnage - $202.7 million
  3. Black Widow - $183.6 million
  4. F9: The Fast Saga - $173.0 million
  5. A Quiet Place Part II - $160.0 million
  6. No Time to Die - $150.4 million
  7. Free Guy - $121.5 million
  8. Eternals - $118.7 million
  9. Jungle Cruise - $116.9 million
  10. Godzilla vs. Kong - $99.2 million

The box office has a long way to go before it’s considered fully recovered from the pandemic. In 2019, 29 movies made more than $100 million in the U.S. So far in 2021, there’s been only nine, with less than two months and only a handful of blockbusters to go in the year. Still it’s good to know that if you put Tom Hardy in a movie with a wisecracking alien sludge that enjoys eating human brains, people will still come. I take a great deal of comfort in that.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is still playing in theaters.

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