First Man: Commercial Appeal of Chazelle’s Armstrong Biopic?

Universal’s First Man should achieve solid success, when it launches in 3,600 theaters, but the space epic will have to fend off an otherworldly competitor, Venom.

Starring Tom Hardy as the alien symbiote from Sony’s arsenal of Marvel characters, Venom opened beyond estimates last weekend with $80 million. The superhero film, which posted the best Monday in October with $9.6 million, will likely win the weekend with as much as $30 million to $40 million in its second outing.

Damien Chazelle’s biographical drama — featuring Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong — is shooting for upwards of $20 million, though some suggest First Man could reach north of $25 million.

The production budget for First Man was around $70 million, but tax incentives lowered the cost of the film closer to $60 million.

The movie follows Armstrong’s life and the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969. Claire Foy plays Armstrong’s first wife, and Jason Clarke portrays astronaut Ed White. Josh Singer, known for his work on the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight” and the Oscar-nominated “The Post,” penned the script, which is based on James R. Hansen’s book, “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.”

Chazelle’s La La Land, which won six Oscars, launched with $9 million when it opened nationwide in 2016, and finished its theatrical run with $151 million.

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