Theaters have spent months trying to figure out how to get people back to the movies. Scaring them beyond belief appears to be a solution.
“A Quiet Place Part II,” a horror film starring Emily Blunt and directed by John Krasinski, brought in an estimated $48.3 million for its opening in North America this weekend, according to the film’s studio Paramount.
That amount not only blew past estimates, which projected the film to make closer to $30 million, but more importantly is a great start for an industry that desperately needed a hit.
The opening for “A Quiet Place Part II” is the biggest domestic debut of the pandemic era so far. Paramount said that the sequel is projected to make $58.5 million over the four day holiday weekend.
Beyond the horror flick, Disney’s “Cruella,” the other big theatrical opening this weekend, also had a solid debut. The film, which stars Emma Stone as a dastardly Cruella de Vil, made an estimated $21.3 million this weekend in North America. That’s not bad considering consumers could also pay $30 to watch the film at home on Disney+.
Movie theaters were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, which forced major chains including AMC (AMC) and Cinemark (CNK) to close their doors for months on end. After the marquees were lit back up, audiences were hard to come by since many big films were delayed. For example, “A Quiet Place Part II” was originally set for March 2020, but was delayed multiple times.
However, with vaccinations ramping up and Covid restrictions loosening, it appears that the box office has once again found its footing.
This weekend’s numbers are impressive since the pandemic is still ongoing and many theaters aren’t yet at full capacity. The theater industry still has a long way to go before it gets back to normal, but it couldn’t ask for a better start to its most lucrative season.
“You can hear a collective sigh of relief throughout the industry,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore (SCOR), told CNN Business. “These numbers reflect a palpable sense of elation that the big screen is indeed coming back and that the momentum generated by this pivotal weekend will pay forward box-office dividends to the other big summer movies that are waiting on deck.”
“A Quiet Place Part II” was a perfect way to kick off the summer box office since horror is one of cinema’s most reliable genres — one that’s arguably better to watch in a theater full of screaming strangers.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, noted that horror films have traditionally been pillars of the box office “during both healthy and slower periods of business.”
“They appeal to a wide array of demographics and can often become genuine crowd-pleasers,” he said. “Leaning on that kind of precedent absolutely suggests that a sequel with broad, mainstream appeal was a fantastic candidate to serve as an important mile-marker in the pandemic-era rebound of moviegoing.”
It also helps that “A Quiet Place Part II” was well reviewed, notching a 91% score on review site, Rotten Tomatoes.