LOS ANGELES — The Neil Armstrong film “First Man” settled for a third-place landing at the North American box office in its opening weekend in theaters.

The Ryan Gosling-starrer and a host of newcomers couldn’t unseat last week’s top two films, “Venom” and “A Star Is Born,” which again took first and second place, respectively.

As the month of October careens toward a box office record, the crowded marketplace can be a blessing or a curse for some films in their first weekends, although the hope is that they will play for weeks to come.

Such is the idea for Universal Pictures’ “First Man,” which took flight over the weekend with everything to its advantage – prestige, good reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), a movie star (Gosling) and an Oscar-winning director (Damien Chazelle).

Studios estimated Sunday that “First Man” earned $16.5 million in ticket sales from 3,640 North American theaters, and $25 million worldwide. That was on par with expectations, but not exactly an eye-popping number for a space epic that cost nearly $60 million to produce.

The comic book film “Venom” continues to belie poor reviews in its second weekend in theaters. Sony Pictures estimated the film added $35.7 million in ticket sales, down 56 percent from its first weekend, to repeat at No. 1. The film has earned $142.8 million to date from North American theaters.

Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” continued to ride a wave of goodwill and awards buzz into its second weekend, adding $28 million. With total domestic grosses at $94.2 million, the Warner Bros. pic starring Cooper and Lady Gaga will sail past $100 million in no time.

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