LOS ANGELES, Oct 14 (Variety.com) - Tom Hardy's "Venom" grabbed $35.7 million to repeat as the winner of the North American box office, followed by Lady Gaga's "A Star Is Born" with $28 million.
Ryan Gosling's "First Man" launched in third place at the low end of expectations with $16.6 million at 3,640 sites, edging the opening of Sony's "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" with $16.2 million at 3,521 venues.
"Venom," which declined 56 percent, is the first repeat winner at the box office since "Crazy Rich Asians" won three straight weekends in August. Moviegoers have continued to shrug off negative reviews as the movie has taken in more than $142 million domestically at 4,250 locations in its first 10 days for Sony. It's also continued the dominance of Marvel's characters in the superhero movie realm.
"A Star Is Born," bolstered by stellar reviews and fans excited over the Lady Gaga-Bradley Cooper collaboration, declined by only 33 percent and lifted its 10-day total to more than $94 million at 3,708 venues.
"First Man" audiences gave the film a B+ CinemaScore. Universal's distribution president Jim Orr said that the "First Man" results were not disappointing, given that the core audience is an older demographic.
"As we've seen in this release corridor, quality films like 'First Man' -- Certified Fresh at 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes -- have strong playability and will have tremendous legs at the box office," he said. "This weekend's results are a just a starting point. Quality adult dramas released in this time period produce very healthy multiples. This is very much a marathon, not a sprint."
"First Man," directed by Damien Chazelle, follows Armstrong's life and the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969. Critics have embraced "First Man," which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and carries an 89 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" debuted slightly above expectations as it aims at family audiences. The original opened with $23.6 million in 2015 on its way to an $80 million domestic total.