Venom officially nabs a B+ CinemaScore, the same score as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. Tipped to kick off Sony’s own cinematic universe centering on Spider-Man tie-in characters, the new Ruben Fleischer-directed flick starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock (aka Venom) gives the antihero his own origin story. Boasting a star-studded cast – including Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, Riz Ahmed as Dr. Carlton Drake, Scott Haze as Roland Treece, and Jenny Slate as Dora Skirth – the film sets up the official debut of Woody Harrelson’s Carnage, who will take the spot as the sequel’s main antagonist. And depending on its final box office run, the movie is expected to pave the way for Jared Leto’s Morbius the Living Vampire, as well as the Silver Sable and Black Cat standalone movie.
CinemaScore has been around since 1978, and is dubbed by many as the best gauge of a film’s mass reception. The site randomly selects people who have just seen a movie, and asks them to grade the movie using a standard A+ to F grading. This ensures that only opinions of those who’ve seen the film factor into their score, making it more trustworthy compared to online aggregated reviews where anyone can sign up and participate.
After hitting theaters, Venom officially has a B+ CinemaScore, which means that people generally enjoyed the movie. While people’s opinion of a movie is subjective, for context, other comic book movies that nabbed the same B+ CinemaScore include Marvel Studios’ Thor and Warner Bros.’ Justice League and Suicide Squad. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice got half a rating less with a B, while 2015’s Fantastic Four received a C-. In terms of Sony’s roster of comic book films, Venom has the same score as 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 2007’s Spider-Man 3, while the rest of the movies in that slate either got an A or A-.
Venom’s CinemaScore leans towards Rotten Tomatoes’ audience rating for the movie, currently, at 89 percent against a rotten critics score of 32 percent. Admittedly, anomalies about how Rotten Tomatoes’ grades can be manipulated have been highlighted over the last several months, after online trolls claimed to sabotage the rating for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But the fact that the viewer score lands on a generally positive rating – like its CinemaScore – is a fairly good indicator of the public’s general consensus with regard to the movie.
With a great divide between critics and audience score, Venom joins the ranks of The Last Jedi and Justice League (albeit in different scenarios). However, at the end of the day, people’s opinions shouldn’t be significantly affected by aggregated scores, especially regarding polarizing movies like this one. Those interested in seeing the movie should go and see it, and decide for themselves. After all, many films initially bashed by audiences, critics, or both eventually go on to be cult hits.