Venom, which stars Tom Hardy (L), was met harshly by critics, but had a record opening weekend GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA AFP File Frazer Harrison
Superhero blockbuster "Venom" saved the day at the North American box office this weekend, pulling in an estimated $80 million in ticket sales, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
The film, the official launch of Sony's Marvel Universe, stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who becomes the host for an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers.
The character is a villain in the "Spider-Man" comic book world.
Despite being panned by critics, the movie comfortably broke the October opening weekend record by more than $20 million, according to Box Office Mojo figures.
In second place was another new release, musical romance "A Star Is Born," which took in $41.25 million.
The third remake of the 1937 film of the same name, it marks the directing debut of Bradley Cooper, who stars as a musician who discovers and falls in love with a young singer played by pop superstar Lady Gaga.
Third place went to Warner Bros.'s "Smallfoot," with earnings of $14.9 million in its second weekend. The comic family animation tells the story of a group of Yeti who come across a human, with voicing by Channing Tatum, LeBron James and Danny DeVito.
Coming in fourth was last weekend's champion, Universal's "Night School," whose earnings dropped nearly $16 million to $12.3 million this weekend.
The raucous comedy stars Kevin Hart as one student in a class of misfits working toward high school diplomas under the firm tutelage of Tiffany Haddish.
Fifth place went to Universal's family-friendly offering "The House With a Clock in Its Walls," which slipped from third place last weekend with takings of $7.3 million.
Rounding out this weekend's top 10 were:
"A Simple Favor" ($3.4 million)
"The Nun" ($2.6 million)
"Hell Fest" ($2.1 million)
"Crazy Rich Asians" ($2.1 million)
"The Predator" ($900,000)