Entertainment Movies 'Venom: Let There' 'Be Carnage' Shatters COVID-19 Box Office Record with $90.1M Debut The Venom sequel dethroned Black Widow for the biggest opening weekend since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic By Tristan Balagtas Tristan Balagtas Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 3, 2021 09:14 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Venom dug its poisonous fangs into audiences this weekend! Sony's Venom: Let There Be Carnage raked in an estimated $90.1 million at the box office in North America, marking the biggest opening weekend since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also shattered the opening weekend numbers of the franchise's first installment, which grossed just over $80 million in 2018. The Venom sequel dethroned the previous pandemic record-holder — Marvel's Black Widow —which brought in $80 million domestically in July. Unlike Venom, however, Black Widow premiered simultaneously on streaming platform Disney+. Courtesy of Sony Pictures The decision to release the Tom Hardy-led film exclusively to theaters is one that Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Picture Entertainment's Motion Picture division, said has paid off strategically. "We are also pleased that patience and theatrical exclusivity have been rewarded with record results," Rothman said in a statement on Sunday. Woody Harrelson Makes Monstrous Debut Alongside Tom Hardy in Venom: Let There Be Carnage Trailer In September, Hardy, 44, and director Andy Serkis spoke to PEOPLE about collaborating on the Venom sequel. "We wanted to work together for years and years because we have, I think, very similar sensibilities and we both like to swim in the dark end of the swimming pool in terms of characters," Serkis, 57, said. "We've been in the same world. This was a perfect opportunity." Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Sony Pictures Entertainment Making the deal even sweeter for Serkis was the fact that he "loved" the first Venom film, which grossed more than $856 million worldwide. "I loved what Tom had done, and so to come in, to drop into the part of the story where you get to really enjoy the evolution of their, Venom and Eddie's, it just seemed to all make sense," he added. Venom: Let There Be Carnage Trailer Shows Woody Harrelson's Villain on a Total Rampage Hardy, who's also a producer and has a story credit on the sequel, was actually the one who called Serkis with the offer to direct. "I know that he has the ability to tell story at an epic level," he said of his pick for director. "He's worked with Peter Jackson on second unit to deliver huge pieces, so it's not out of his wheelhouse. Then as an artist, as a friend, there's a connection there of trying to do something which is epic and complicated and complex. It's great to have somebody there leading it who I know I have a trust as an artist. He has the ability to deliver." Venom: Let There Be Carnage is in theaters now.