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The Paramount pic — in which John Krasinski returns to the directors’ chair — on Friday became the first movie in the pandemic era to cross the $100 million mark domestically upon finishing the day with $101 million in ticket sales.
Starring Emily Blunt, the movie accomplished the feat in 15 days. It also set a pandemic-era record when posting a four-day debut of $57 million over Memorial Day weekend.
“If we jumped into a time machine and went back a year, the once-commonplace milestone of crossing $100 million dollars almost overnight became a pipe dream for the beleaguered movie theater industry,” says Comscore’s Paul Dergarabedian.
Warner Bros. and Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong should also reach the milestone in the next several days, albeit nearly three months into its theatrical run. Heading into the weekend, the film’s North American total was $99.4 million (that could grow to $99.8 million by the end of Sunday).
The major caveat — Godzilla vs. Kong opened in late March, when the box office office recovery in North America had yet to commence in earnest. Many theaters still hadn’t reopened after virtually all indoor cinemas flipped off the lights in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Also, Godzilla vs. Kong, like all 2021 titles from Warners, launched simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max in a bid to boost WarnerMedia’s relatively new streaming service during a time of uncertainty regarding moviegoing habits.
A Quiet Place II is getting a traditional theatrical release, and won’t be available in the home via Paramount+ until 45 days after it first hit the big screen.
“This makes the stellar performance of A Quiet Place Part II even more impressive having reached this $100 million mark at a pre-pandemic pace,” says Dergarabedian. “It proves not only the power of the horror genre to draw audiences, but that the prestige and exclusivity of a theatrical-first release is undeniably without peer in terms of its ability to deliver huge financial dividends and long-term rewards.”
Now in its third weekend, A Quiet Place II is pacing ahead of expectations and could come close to matching — or surpassing — the debut of Jon M. Chu’s musical In the Heights in a surprise upset. (From Warners, In the Heights is available on HBO Max).
Both titles are estimated to earn $12 million to $13 million for the weekend. In the Heights was widely expected to take the crown with an opening in the mid-teens, or even $20 million, but needed to win over plenty of older customers. Polls show that moviegoers over the age of 35, and especially females, are far more reluctant to return to the multiplex for the time being.
So far, the genres that have done the best in recent weeks, as the box office recovery progresses, are horror and action.
The last film to earn north of $100 million in North America was Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which debuted in mid-February of 2020.
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