In spite of being one of the first films of 2021 to have a controversial day and date release — i.e. a simultaneous release on streaming and in theaters — Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow performed well. Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic and controversial lawsuits, Black Widow was the second highest domestic-earning film of the year until now. The film just got knocked down to the third place spot by the first non-Disney Marvel film released this year, Venom 2 aka Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
Forbes reports that the sequel to 2018’s Venom has not only passed the domestic earnings of Scarlett Johansson’s final Marvel film by reaching $184 million this week, but that it’s on track to make a lot more. Venom 2 has made 97% of what its predecessor made at this point in 2018, which is incredibly impressive for a sequel. Forbes notes that if it keeps earning at that rate, its total domestic earnings should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $207 million.
The totals for Venom: Let There Be Carnage are similarly impressive if you expand the view to the last two years, regardless of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. With its current totals, Venom 2 is now in the number three spot for domestic earnings between 2020 and 2021. The only two films to earn more stateside are Bad Boys for Life ($204 million) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($222 million at last count).
Beyond the United States’ shores, there’s a decent chance Venom 2 will decimate Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow again, all because of a single country — China. As part of Deadline‘s report today about the November releases of three US-produced films, it’s mentioned that Venom: Let There Be Carnage is still waiting for theatrical clearance from the Chinese government, which is normal at this point. For example, while Disney’s Jungle Cruise was released stateside on July 30, it’s just been greenlit for a Chinese release on November 12. However, Black Widow was released in the US on July 9, and Deadline says neither it nor Shang-Chi have been approved for release in China, and neither are expected to get a Chinese release.
If Chinese authorities approve Venom 2‘s release in the country, there’s a good chance Sony’s in for a windfall. As of December 2018, Venom had made $260.5 million in China alone and was granted a rare extended release in the country. If the sequel performs similarly well, Venom: Let There Be Carnage‘s worldwide earnings will make those for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow seem like crumbs in comparison.
But none of that means Scarlett Johansson’s going to be hurting for cash any time soon. Last month the actress’ legal conflict with Disney came to an end with a settlement. Unsurprisingly, neither side revealed the amounts agreed to, though the numbers paid out to Johansson are believed to be around $40 million. Johansson’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against the studio at the end of July, alleging that by releasing Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premium, it depressed ticket sales, making it more difficult for Johansson to reach the numbers necessary for a contractually agreed upon bonus.