In normal years, the holiday which unofficially kicks off summer has provided Hollywood with one of its biggest—and busiest—periods on the calendar. But the past year has been anything but normal, and few knew what to expect coming into the long weekend. Well, it turns out that the box office exceeded all industry expectations thanks to the one-two blockbuster punch of Paramount’sA Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s Cruella, which both had stronger-than-expected debuts. In fact, it was the first weekend in more than a year where the total domestic box-office take surpassed $100 million.
Winning the holiday weekend (by far) was the John Krasinski-directed follow-up to 2018’s surprise horror hit A Quiet Place. The eagerly anticipated sequel scared up $48.4 million in the three-day window between Friday and Sunday. Estimates for the PG-13 film’s four-day haul put its North American receipts at $58.5 million (with $5 million of that coming from IMAX screens), making it the biggest domestic opening of the pandemic era. The previous record holder was Warner Bros.’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which bowed to $32 million back in March 2021.
While early industry projections had the Emily Blunt-starring sequel landing in the $30-million range over its first three days, A Quiet Place Part II easily blew past those predictions and landed in the top spot with plenty of breathing space to spare. In fact, the movie’s Memorial Day weekend take nearly matched the original’s $50.2 million opening in 2018. The follow-up opened with a staggering $12,985 per-screen average in 3,726 theaters. And both critics and audiences seemed equally impressed with the film, giving it a 91% score on RottenTomatoes and an A- grade from CinemaScore.
Originally scheduled to hit theaters back on March 20, 2020, A Quiet Place Part II was one of the first major-studio pictures to be postponed due to COVID. And while many studios chose to steer their 2020 films over to various streaming platforms bypassing limited-capacity theaters, Paramount’s gamble to hold the film for a theatrical release until the pandemic began to recede seems to have paid off handsomely. Blunt and Co. should now have plenty of time to pad their film’s already-impressive numbers since it will be available solely on the big screen for 45 days before moving over to the Paramount+ streaming service.
In the runner-up spot was Disney’s Cruella, an origin story starring Emma Stone about the rise of 101 Dalmatians 's puppy-hating villain, Cruella de Vil. The PG-13-rated film also came out of the gate to solid numbers despite being available on Disney+ for an additional $30 fee. Cruella pulled in $21.3 million in the first three days of the long weekend, earning a $5,472 per-screen average in 3,892 locations. Its four-day gross is projected to hit $26.5 million. The film currently has a 72% score on RottenTomatoes and received a straight ‘A’ CinemaScore grade. One interesting footnote: female ticket buyers turned out to be a critical factor in the holiday weekend’s booming business, with women making up 53% of A Quiet Place Part II’s audience and 64% of Cruella’s.
In third place was Lionsgate’s horror flick Spiral, which took in just under $2.3 million over the weekend’s first three days in North America and an estimated $2.9 million for the four-day frame. The latest R-rated Saw installment saw its receipts fall off a steep -50.5% from the previous session while earning a $760 per-screen average in 2,991 theaters. Its three-week North American total now stands at $19.8 million. The ninth chapter in the splatter saga which kicked off in 2004 has tacked on an additional $6.8 million abroad to date, lifting its worldwide total to $27.2 million.
In fourth place was Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man. The United Artists’ action-thriller added $2.1 million domestically, which represented a -29.5% dip from the previous weekend (Its four-day projection is a little under $2.8 million). The R-rated film had a $698 per-screen average in 3,007 theaters. Its four-week North American total now sits at $22.1 million. However, Statham’s latest punch-‘em-up continues to translate well overseas, where it has accumulated $57.7 million in foreign markets, bringing the film’s combined worldwide gross to a hair under $80.5 million.
Rounding out the top five was Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. In its thirteenth (!) week, the PG-rated computer-animated adventure added just under $2 million domestically thanks to a +19.7% bump over the previous session (Its four-day projection is $2.6 million). Despite also being available on the Disney+ streaming platform for a $30 fee, the film had a $990 per-screen average in 2,015 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $50.9 million. Overseas, Raya has racked up $77 million so far, pushing its current worldwide total to $128.5 million.
Meanwhile, the latest Fast and Furious sequel, F9, continues to burn rubber overseas. While the Vin Diesel-starrer will not cross the starting line on our shores until June 25, it has already zipped past the $200 million line in its first two weeks playing abroad. Its current international gross in just eight markets is a whopping $229 million and counting.