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Villain Venom is box office hero in North American theaters

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 first movie in Sony's Marvel Universe, it stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who becomes the host for an alien symbiote that gives him superpowers as the popular "Spider-Man" character.

"Venom" was panned by critics, but comfortably broke the October opening weekend record by over $20 million, according to Box Office Mojo figures.

In second was another new release, musical romance "A Star Is Born," which took in $41.2 million.

The third remake of the 1937 film of the same name, it marks the directing debut of Bradley, 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 $7.2 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)

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