(Photo by Jonny Cournoyer/©Paramount Pictures)
Leading into Memorial Day, many were saying that $30 million for A Quiet Place Part II this weekend would have been a nice pandemic number for sure; but even that would not be nearly what the industry really needed after the health-induced drought theaters had seen since March 2020. However, after the box office made over $79 million this weekend (the best since the $90.4 million from March 6-8, 2020), with the horror sequel accounting for an estimated $48 million of that (plus another $8-plus million on Monday), we got our dream “Movies Are Back!” headlines. Though let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet…
John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II was the first film to delay itself when the COVID-19 scare began last March. It was a sequel to a film that made over $188 million after opening to $50.2 million in April 2018: that’s 3.74 times its opening, which is the best multiple for a film opening in April to more than $26 million. For comparison, Godzilla vs. Kong was the follow-up to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which was anything but a word-of-success after opening to $47.77 million in May 2019 and only cleared 2.31 times that start. GvK still managed to be the first truly breakout film of the pandemic era, grossing $48.1 million from Wednesday to Easter Sunday, or March 31 to April 4. That was when the vaccination rate across North America was around 28%-29%; by Memorial Day weekend, we are at double that (with folks who have received at least the first dose), theaters are opening wider, and A Quiet Place Part II is not available on any streaming service and is exclusive to theaters. (GvK was available on HBO Max upon its release). All of this shows why a $30 million holiday weekend opening would not have been too much cause for celebration.
Thankfully, as already mentioned, we have very good news to report: $57 million and counting. That may not be record-breaking Memorial Day number (it’s the 21st-best Memorial Day opening overall), but this is completely a glass half-full kind of weekend. People are showing up in theaters still socially distancing. We are not at maximum capacity just yet, but it feels like we have turned a corner. In four days, A Quiet Place Part II has grossed more than all but three films during the pandemic (GvK, Tenet, The Croods: A New Age) and it will be passing those latter two by Tuesday. The budget for the film is about three times the original ($61 million), and with it not being available on streaming at the same time as its theatrical release – and therefore its total numbers not being obscured, as they are for some streaming releases – this is in many ways the first film in a long time that we can declare an honest-to-goodness hit.
The story for Disney’s Cruella is a bit more mixed. It is certainly true that many families could have forked out $29.99 to catch the film at home with Disney+’s Premier Access, but precisely how many did (or will) is not readily available information, nor is it something the streaming services seem comfortable sharing in the most transparent means possible. The movie’s box office earnings of $21.3 million over the weekend and $26.5 million over the holiday are still very good pandemic numbers. (Though surely we all remember the headlines in 2015 when the $190-million budgeted Tomorrowland opened to $42.67 million over the holiday.) Some reports have Cruella costing as much as $200 million. Even if the budget is actually half that, it is going to take a significant international number plus those premium cost clicks to say this is not a miss for Disney.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures)
While it is also hard to measure any overall success or failure of Raya and the Last Dragon, it remains one of the very few films to pass $50 million at the box office during the pandemic – just the third film this year to do so, and fifth overall. Godzilla vs. Kong, meanwhile, is still tiptoeing its way towards $100 million, even as it looks like A Quiet Place Part II is going to get there first. It’s a good effort, regardless, with over $435 million in the bank worldwide so far. The movie only took $852,000 over the three-day weekend, though, and theater space is quickly about to become a luxury again, leading us to wonder: Will it have enough in the tank to reach the $100 million milestone or will Black Widow end up being the first co-streaming/theatrical film to do it in July? That’s if In the Heights does not make a big enough splash first.
(Photo by Merrick Morton/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)
May 28: This is a big day for the summer $100 million club. In 2006, Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand grossed $25.65 million on its third day of release to hit the milestone. In 2018, Solo: A Star Wars Story did it in four days with $18.59 million. Twenty years earlier, Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park hit $100 million with a $4.62 million gross on its sixth day. 2010’s Shrek Forever After did it in eight days, with $11.36 million, while the original Shrek in 2001 took 13 days to do it with $12.73 million. That was the same amount of days The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian took to reach the milestone in 2008 with $1.54 million on this day. This was also the day that Disney’s live-action 2017 Beauty and the Beast grossed $536,772 to pass the $500 million mark on its 73rd day of release.
May 29: Two big summer comedies hit the $100 million mark, respectively, in 2011 and 2003 when The Hangover Part II made $26.27 million to do it four days and Bruce Almighty grossed $4.51 million to do it on – when else – its seventh day. Shrek Week on Twitter will be happy to be reminded that Shrek 2 made $27.23 million on this day in 2004 to pass $200 million on its11th day of release. It took twice as long for J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot to hit that number with $3.61 million on its 22nd day. Of course, four years earlier, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith made $18.7 million to reach $250 million in just half that time in 11 days.
(Photo by © 20th Century Fox)
May 30: Sharon Stone is out with a new memoir and this is the day that Basic Instinct broke the $100 million line in 1992 after 72 days of release with $1.1 million. In 2009, Angels & Demons took just 16 days to do it with $4.76 million. Then in 2015, after 157 days of release, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper made $28,047 and passed $350 million.
May 31: This is the period of sequels, prequels, and remakes, so let’s go from the ground up. In 2000, Mission: Impossible II made $3.73 million on its eighth day while in 2009 Night of the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian made $6.62 million on its 10th day. Each crossed $100 million. Guy Ritchie’s 2019 live-action Aladdin made $11.85 million on its eighth day; X-Men: Days of Future Past made $13.79 million in 2014 on its ninth day; and The Da Vinci Code made $2.78 million on its 13th day in 2006. That is your $150 million club. Over to $200 million and it’s Spielberg and Lucas time. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace made $15.5 million on its 13th day in 1999 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made $19.82 million on day 10 in 2008. But just two days after it passed the $200 million milestone, Shrek 2 grossed another $23.4 million on its 13th day of release to go over $250 million.
Next week the next chapter in the Conjuring Universe arrives with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, again with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, but minus director James Wan. The Curse of la Llorona’s Michael Chaves takes the helm. Meanwhile, families get the animated Spirit Untamed, a sequel to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, which debuted in May of 2002.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]