Summer box office is back.
Paramount reports this morning that A Quiet Place Part II thrilled domestic audiences to the tune of $19.3 million on opening day Friday, including Thursday night’s $4.8 million preview grosses, from 3,726 North American cinemas.
That figure blows away the previous pandemic era record for an opening or single day gross, formerly held by Godzilla vs. Kong‘s $9.7 million opening day (a Wednesday) and $12.7 million on the Saturday of its debut weekend.
Perhaps just as impressive is the fact that this highly anticipated and well-reviewed sequel bested the $18.86 million opening day of its 2018 predecessor, A Quiet Place, despite capacity restrictions and other pandemic-related factors in play right now. The original film went on to earn $50.2 million for its traditional three-day opening weekend.
Part II‘s opening day, and eventual weekend figures, are also locked to set new all-time records for the horror genre on Memorial Day weekend. The genre’s previous high mark over the holiday was 2015’s Poltergeist remake, which modestly earned $26.3 million over four days.
Where projections go from here remains a bit of a guessing game in this supposedly new climate of moviegoing habits during the vaccine era of the pandemic, but in some ways, box office trends aren’t deviating far from what we’re used to seeing (yet). One variable that remains is how, if at all, front-loading will increase for films — particularly sequels to brands with built-in audiences. Given the popularity of the first Quiet Place and strong promotion for this sequel dating back over 14 months ago, Part II fits the bill of a film that had a strong rush-out factor.
Even still, Friday’s figure comes in at the high end of bullish expectations and far above most others. Paramount is estimating a three-day haul of $47.52 million and a four-day at $57.41 million. Those are reasonable figures if Saturday, Sunday, and Monday’s declines trend sharper than pre-pandemic comparisons dictate. The previous pandemic best three-day belonged to Godzilla vs. Kong with $31.6 million, and its opening five days hit $48.1 million.
Quiet Place Part II‘s strong reception and initial Thursday-to-Friday ratios are very encouraging with Friday representing 4.02 times its Thursday haul — not far behind the 4.39 multiple of the first film’s opening day-to-Thursday night ($4.3 million).
With that and holiday weekend factors in mind, not to mention any potential momentum gained by word of mouth on the film and theatrical re-openings at-large, our internal projections are a little more bullish with the three-day trending north of $50 million and the four-day showing significant potential to reach or slightly exceed $60 million.
The latter would essentially be in line with pre-pandemic forecasts for the sequel prior to its March 2020 delay. Regardless, this is a massively positive result that shows the power of moviegoing is still strong after a year-long absence from daily life.
Cruella Also Welcoming Back Audiences
Meanwhile, Disney’s second domestic release of the pandemic era is faring well enough in its hybrid release this weekend. Cruella pulled $7.7 million on opening day Friday, including Thursday night’s $1.4 million previews.
There are no true comparisons here given the simultaneous release in theaters and as a premium streaming option for an extra $30 to Disney+ subscribers.
That being said, Cruella‘s first day ranks only behind Quiet Place Part II, Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Demon Slayer among the top opening days of the pandemic. All of those catered to different audiences, and the release strategies were unique across the board. For a more traditional comp, Maleficent: MIstress of Evil bowed to $12.55 million on opening day in October 2019 when it was exclusive to theaters.
Disney isn’t providing weekend projections until Sunday morning at the earliest, however, internal models suggest the live-action prequel should clear $21 million for the three-day haul and $26 million for the four-day.
Regardless of the final numbers, this weekend will easily surpass the cumulative box office of any previous frame during the pandemic. In total, the top ten films over the long holiday weekend have potential to reach $100 million for the first time in nearly 16 months.
F9 Overseas Update
In additional news, Universal briefly mentioned that F9 has surpassed $200 million internationally through Friday. A fuller update will provided on that film come Sunday.