A Soft Box-Office Debut For ‘In the Heights’ Lets ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Reclaim The Top Spot
The critics swooned for it, the studio marketed the heck out of it, and its feel-good message couldn’t have arrived at a better time. So why did Warner Bros’ splashy new movie-musical In the Heights receive such a lukewarm turnout in its opening weekend? With advance predictions pegging the debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage-to-screen adaptation at around $20 million, In the Heights fell well short of expectations, pulling in a soft $11.4 million in its first frame, leaving an opening for the three-week-old horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II to reclaim the top spot in North America. Meanwhile, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway hopped its way into third place in with a $10.4 million bow.

After dropping down to second place last weekend, the John Krasinski-directed A Quiet Place Part II rebounded with just under $11.7 million in its third weekend in theaters. Paramount’s PG-13-rated suspense sequel starring Emily Blunt dipped -39.5% from the previous session, scoring a $3,314 per-screen average in 3,515 locations. Its three-week domestic total now stands at just a hair less than $109 million—making it the first film to surpass the $100 million milestone in North America since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Overseas, the nearly-silent thriller has racked up just shy of $90.2 million to date, putting its current worldwide total at $199.2 million.

As mentioned, In the Heights disappointingly debuted in the runner-up spot, pulling in $11.4 million. Warner Bros.’ PG-13 adaptation of the Tony-winning 2008 Broadway show unspooled in 3,456 theaters and managed a $3,300 per-screen average. While the festive, crowd-pleasing musical from the creator of Hamilton wowed critics (earning a 96% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (who gave the movie an ‘A’ CinemaScore), it failed to translate those raves into blockbuster numbers. Part of the reason may be that the film was also readily available to HBO Max subscribers for free (Warners has not released streaming viewing numbers yet); another may be the film’s lack of big-name stars (the film is top-lined by Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera). Either way, one interesting demographic nugget is that Latinos made up 40% of the film’s ticket buyers. In the Heights has not opened internationally yet.

Hopping into third place was Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, the sequel to the 2018 hit kids movie, featuring the voice of James Corden. Already doing brisk business in several overseas markets, Sony’s PG-rated family film was finally unveiled stateside this weekend to the tune of $10.4 million. Although significantly less brawny than the original’s $25 million bow in February of 2018, Peter Rabbit 2 earned a $3,108 per-screen average in 3,346 locations. To date, the film has racked up $57.9 million abroad, bringing its worldwide box-office total to $68.3 million. Although the film seems unlikely to match the first Peter Rabbit’s $115 million domestic run, the success of several children’s movies during the pandemic (such as The Croods: A New Age, Tom and Jerry, and Raya and the Last Dragon) suggest that it may have long legs—or paws, or whatever rabbits have for feet.

In fourth place was last week’s champ, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Warner Bros. and New Line’s latest entry in its successful fright franchise starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga scared up $10 million in its second weekend. The R-rated horror flick saw business drop off -58.4% from the prior weekend, snagging a $3,095 per-screen average in 3,237 theaters. The newest Conjuring installment has raked in $43.8 million domestically to date, and another $68 million from international markets, bringing its two-week cumulative worldwide gross to $111.8 million. The movie is also playing at no additional fee to HBO Max subscribers in the US, which may explain why its numbers are more heavily weighted to its foreign performance.

Rounding out the top five Disney’s Cruella, an origin story starring Emma Stone as Cruella De Vil, the infamous puppy-hating villain of 101 Dalmatians. The PG-13-rated film made slightly more than $6.7 million in its third weekend, falling off -38.7% from the previous frame. Cruella, which is also available on Disney+ for a $30 premium charge, earned a $2,038 per-screen average in 3,307 theaters. Its combined three-week domestic total is $56 million. Cruella has also piled on another $73.3 million internationally, bringing its cumulative worldwide box-office total to $129.3 million.

Hovering just outside of the top five were a couple of new indie releases: Lionsgate’s R-rated horror-comedy The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 landed in seventh place, bowing to $1.1 million in 420 theaters (for a $2,533 per-screen average); while Gravitas Ventures’ PG-13-rated seniors-targeted romantic drama Queen Bees snuck into ninth place with a $328,300 debut in 500 locations (for a $656 per-screen average). Neither film has opened internationally yet.