Movie studios, theaters, and fans have been eyeing Memorial Day weekend for months now in the hopes that the box office might return to some semblance of normal. The last few months have seen a few scattered hits — Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train — but with mask mandates lifted around the country and vaccinations ramping up, this weekend would be the true test of the post-pandemic box office.
With $20 million on Friday alone, the Memorial Day box office for John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II is shaping up for a huge $58.5 million holiday weekend. That is from 3,752 theaters, which is about how many theaters screened blockbuster movies pre-pandemic. The $58.5 million four-day weekend, the $48.3 million three-day, and the $20 million single-day Friday gross are all box-office records since the pandemic. Those numbers are not only well ahead of expectations (Paramount figured $40 million for the four-day weekend), but the sequel actually scored more than the original’s $50 million opening weekend.
The other test for A Quiet Place Part II and the box-office, in general, is how well it does after its opening weekend. Films like Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat have seen successful opening weekends, but have plummeted in their second weekends. A Quiet Place Part II, however, is the first major blockbuster film to be released exclusively in theaters since Tenet, although there is one change for A Quiet Place Part II: Its theatrical window is now only 45 days before it will then be released to the Paramount streaming network. In fact, John Krasinki and Emily Blunt, who earn a percentage of the theatrical take, are asking Paramount for more money because the window was shortened.
Disney’s Cruella, meanwhile, had no theatrical window, as it was released in theaters and on Disney for a cost of $30. We won’t learn how much it earned from premium access, but it put up a very impressive $7.7 million on Friday and what looks to be around $28 million for the weekend. That’s all the more impressive because these Disney films — even during the pandemic — have been sticking around in theaters for months. Raya and the Last Dragon, for instance, has very quietly earned over $50 million since March, and until A Quiet Place Part II came along, was the second-highest-grossing film of the year, despite also being available for premium access.
In another sign of normality, we also have Cinemascores again! A Quiet Place Part II scored an A- CinemaScore (even better than the original’s B ), while Cruella received an A. Critics, meanwhile, preferred Quite Place, giving it a 91 percent on Rotten Tomaotes compared to the 73 percent earned by Cruella.
As it stands, it also looks like the box office will earn over $80 million over the three-day weekend, a first since the pandemic. The biggest difference right now, however, is that there still isn’t a deep bench of hits behind the top two films. Spiral is hanging on at number three, earning around $2.9 million for the four-day holiday ($20.3 million overall) followed by Wrath of Man with $2.7 million and $22.7 million overall. In fifth, again, is Raya and the Last Dragon, clinging to the top five with $2.2 million and $51 million overall.
More good news is that we don’t have to wait two or three weeks in between major releases anymore. Next weekend, in fact, will see the release of another Conjuring movie, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It plus a Sylvester Stallone film, Samaritan, followed by the release of In the Heights in theaters and on HBO Max on June 11th.
Source: Deadline, Box Office Mojo