Weekend Box Office: 'A Quiet Place' Crushes 'Ready Player One,' 'Blockers' With $50M Bow

Jonny Cournoyer/Paramount Pictures
'A Quiet Place'

It's a good weekend all the way around as 'Blockers' fights off the R-rated comedy curse with a $21.4 million debut, while Ted Kennedy scandal pic 'Chappaquiddick' launches to a better-than-expected $6.1 million.

The importance of originality to moviegoers came across loud and clear at the weekend box office.

Paramount's A Quiet Place — a high-concept horror-thriller directed by John Krasinski that has less than three minutes of dialogue — opened to a booming $50 million from 3,508 theaters in North America, well ahead of expectations and one of the top debuts of all time for a horror title behind last year's It ($123.4 million). It's also the second-best three-day bow of the year so far behind Black Panther ($202 million).

A Quiet Place easily scaled the box-office chart to land at No. 1, delivering a needed win for Paramount after a dismal run that had seen the studio fall to No. 11 in domestic market share. The movie was one of the first films that began shooting after Jim Gianopulos arrived as chairman-CEO in spring 2017, meaning he guided the project from start to finish.

Produced by Platinum Dunes and costing a modest $17 million to make, A Quiet Place stars Krasinski opposite real-life wife Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. The story follows a family of four who must remain silent to ward off mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Rated PG-13, the pic earned a B+ CinemaScore, a great grade for a horror film, and sports a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Overseas, A Quiet Place opened to a pleasing $21 million from its first 40 markets for a global cume of $71 million, suggesting the pic will be a huge profit generator.

"It's rare for a horror movie to do so well. A Quiet Place has broken free of any genre," says Paramount distribution chief Kyle Davies. "Then there's the experiential aspect of the movie. It's intense and people are engaged from the minute it starts."

It was a good weekend all around for moviegoing in the U.S. as revenue spiked more than 36 percent over the same frame last year.

Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One held up well in its sophomore outing, falling a slim 40 percent to $25.1 million for an 11-day domestic total of $96.9 million, while Universal's Blockers beat the R-rated comedy curse.

Globally, Ready Player One film saw its grosses climb to $391.3 million, including a massive $161.2 million in China, the best showing of all time for a Warner Bros. title. And it had no trouble topping the weekend foreign chart with $81.7 million from 65 markets.

Blockers opened to $21.4 million from 3,379 North American cinemas, the best launch for an R-rated comedy since fellow Universal comedy Girls Trip, which bowed to $31 million in summer 2017.  The female-fronted film earned a B CinemaScore and currently sports an 83 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Helmed by screenwriter Kay Cannon in her feature directorial debut, Blockers is a raunchy coming-of-age tale about a group of girls determined to lose their virginity on prom night. The big hitch — their parents learn of their plan. Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena star alongside Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Indira Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon.

"This is another example of the legacy we have in releasing adult comedies, such as Girls Trip, Trainwreck, Bridesmaids and Sisters," says Universal domestic distribution president Jim Orr. "This film took the idea of guys losing their virginity and turned it on its head to great results."

Both Blockers and A Quiet Place staged their world premieres at the SXSW Film Festival, as did Ready Player One. And both drew hordes of moviegoers between the ages of 18 and 24 — a tough demo to entice — helping to explain their success. A Quiet Place skewed slightly male (51 percent), while Blockers played slightly more to females (51 percent).

John Curran's Ted Kennedy scandal pic Chappaquiddick, which recounts the 1969 car accident that forever damaged Kennedy's presidential aspirations, also came in ahead of expectations. The indie film, from Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios, opened to $6.2 million from 1,560 theaters to bow at No. 7.

Chappaquiddick — playing notable older, with 35 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 55 — stars Jason Clarke as Kennedy and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne, the young political aide who was left to drown after Kennedy drove his car off a tiny bridge in 1969.

Inspirational film The Miracle Season, directed by Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer), debuted to $4.1 million for LD Entertainment. The pic tells the real-life tale of a Midwestern volleyball squad dealing with the death of their team leader. Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh star.

Chappaquiddick received a B CinemaScore; Miracle Season garnered an A.

Among other highlights, Disney and Marvel's Black Panther held at No. 4 in its eighth weekend, grossing another $8.4 million for a domestic total of $665.4 million and a global haul of $1.3 billion. In North America, the superhero film passed Titanic ($659.4 million) to become the No. 3 title of all time — where it will rest — behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.7 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million). Worldwide, Black Panther will soon pass Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($1.333 billion) to rank as the No. 9 title of all time.

At the specialty box office, Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here scored a promising theater average of $43,304 in its debut in three cinemas in New York and Los Angeles. The revenge thriller, from Amazon Studios, stars Joaquin Phoenix.

Lean on Pete opened in four theaters in N.Y. and L.A., posting a screen average of $12,530. Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny star in the A24 drama.

Where Is Kyra?, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, reported a theater average of $7,000 upon opening in one theater in New York City. The drama, released by Great Point Media/Paladin, also stars Kiefer Sutherland.

Among holdovers, Fox Searchlight and Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs moved up to No. 10 as it expanded into a total of 554 theaters in its third weekend, grossing $4.5 million for a domestic total of $12 million.

April 8, 9:30 a.m. Updated with additional foreign grosses.

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