Horror film “A Quiet Place: Part II” opened in North America this weekend to considerable fanfare and with numbers unlike any seen since the pandemic began, as Covid curbs began falling and theatres began filling up again.
After Hollywood’s brutal year of dark screens and empty seats, final box office figures for the long weekend out Tuesday showed that movies are starting to come back.
“The symbolic importance of this Memorial Day Weekend to the movie theater industry cannot be overstated,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore. The numbers, he said, “tell an indisputable story about the resilience and continued relevance of the big screen experience”.
The latest “Quiet Place” – a John Krasinski-directed sequel to the popular 2018 film about a young family trying to outwit horrific blind monsters with frighteningly keen hearing – took in US$57.1 million for the four-day Memorial Day weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Tuesday.
That pushed the combined gross for the weekend’s top 12 films to US$97.5 million, up from $18.8 million the previous weekend and from a flat-lining zero in the corresponding 2020 weekend.
“This bodes well for the future of the theatrical exhibition and is thus a huge relief for the movie industry at large,” Dergarabedian said.
In second place for the weekend was Disney’s live-action “Cruella” at US$26.5 million. The movie, with a snarling Emma Stone as the title baddie and Emma Thompson in a supporting role, has a ways to go to attain the box-office status of its 1961 precursor “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”, but its opening weekend was seen as “promising”, Variety said, given conditions.
“Cruella” can also be streamed on the Disney+ channel.
There was a steep drop off to third spot, which went to Disney’s animated fantasy “Raya and the Last Dragon”, at US$2.8 million. Its mainly Asian-American cast includes the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan and Sandra Oh.
In fourth, at US$2.7 million, was “Wrath of Man” from United Artists. The action thriller, directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Jason Statham as an armored truck driver who thwarts a robbery but then faces unwanted attention due to his troubled past.
Fifth was Lionsgate’s horror film “Spiral” at US$2.69 million. The latest addition to the “Saw” franchise stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella and Samuel L Jackson.
Rounding out the top films were:
“Demons Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train” (US$1.8 million)
“Godzilla vs. Kong” (US$1 million)
“Dream Horse” (US$817,000)
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” (US$720,000)
“World War Z (Re-issue) (US$448,000)
“Mortal Kombat” (US$332,000)