A Quiet Place Part II
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Credit: Paramount Pictures

Memorial Day box office: 'A Quiet Place Part II' makes a ton of noise with new pandemic record of $48 million

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May 30, 2021, 11:12 AM EDT

After more than a year of delay, Paramount's A Quiet Place Part II made its presence known this weekend with a thundering $48.38 million at the North American box office. That's only $2 million shy of the first movie's weekend opening in early April 2018. As Variety notes, however, Part I only cost $17 million to make, while the sequel carries a much larger price tag of $61 million.

Nevertheless, the horror sequel (written and directed by the returning John Krasinski) still made a ton of noise by setting a record for the biggest three-day domestic opening of the COVID-19 pandemic, unseating the previous $32 million milestone achieved by Warner Bros.' Godzilla vs. Kong.

IMAX screenings accounted for $5 million of all domestic sales (a record in and of itself) and the taciturn blockbuster is expected to close out the long Memorial Day weekend with a monstrous Stateside haul of $57 million. This bodes extremely well for upcoming summer releases like The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (June 4), F9 (June 25), Black Widow (July 9), Space Jam: A New Legacy (July 16), and The Suicide Squad (Aug. 5). Internationally, A Quiet Place Part II silently lured in an additional $22 million, boosting the movie's worldwide sonic blast to just over $70 million.

"What a weekend! The power and allure of the movie theater experience was put to the test this weekend and came out a winner," Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "Movie fans voted with their patronage and kudos to exhibition for creating confidence among consumers and to the studios for betting on the continued power of the big screen to drive audiences to the multiplex, despite almost unlimited content available at home."

"A Quiet Place Part II is the first domestic release this year to cross the threshold from 'great opening weekend given the pandemic' to 'great opening weekend, period' — offering undeniable proof that the domestic box office is back," added IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond. "The film’s stellar results give the box office a strong jolt of momentum heading into the summer, and the many blockbusters that held out for an exclusive theatrical release stand to benefit."

"This is an outstanding opening" David A. Gross, head of Franchise Entertainment Research, said in a statement Variety, adding that Part II could have had holiday projections of $60 million if all U.S. theaters were open (some remain closed, others are operating at reduced capacities, while others still are lifting certain precautions entirely). “[It’s] well above average for a horror sequel ... Still, this movie is going to make a lot of money and bring enormous value to streaming."

Variety also reports that weekend ticket sales in the U.S. will surpass $100 million for the first time in more than a year.

Picking up mere moments after its 2018 predecessor, Part II finds Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt, Krasinski's real-world spouse) and her two young children — Regan and Marcus (Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) — leaving the safety of their farm for the unknowns of the wider world.

While they've discovered a way to defeat the sound-sensitive aliens, their journey is no less perilous, especially now that they've got a noisy newborn to look after. The family eventually meets up with an old friend, Emmett (Peeky Blinders' Cillian Murphy). He's all but given up hope for the future of humanity, but is roused into action by Regan. Despite dying at the end of the first movie, Krasinski's character, Lee Abbott, returns for a brief flashback to the day the monsters first attacked the Earth.

"Obviously, people's biggest concerns with sequels are that it's just a cash grab from the studio. It’s a blockbuster movie,” Krasinski recently told SYFY WIRE, admitting that he originally turned down the offer to make a follow-up. “What happened was I really started thinking about this one small idea. Which is about the kids in the movie, and about how [a sequel might] continue the metaphor of the first movie. The first movie is about parenthood and the promise you make to your kids: If you stay close to us, we can keep you safe forever. That promise is inevitably going to be broken by every parent. That’s what growing up is. I think that's what adolescence is. And so, that's what this movie was for me. And that was my way in, an organic family roots kind of vibe."

Another new release this weekend is Disney's villainous origin film, Cruella. Starring Emma Stone as a younger version of the unhinged fashionista of 101 Dalmatians, the movie debuted to $21.3 million domestically over the traditional three-day frame. 

It's estimated that the Craig Gillespie-directed movie will close out the long holiday with $26 .5 million. Internationally, Cruella has sewed together $16.1 million for a global runway of $37.4 million (that figure is expected to reach $42.6 million by the end of Monday). Disney+ subscribers have the option to stream the flick at home by shelling out a "Premier Access" fee of $29.99. 

"I loved the character of Cruella — I don’t mean I love the things that drove her, because she’s obviously a very sick woman, but I found the character very interesting,” Stone explained during an interview with The New York Times. "I’ve really loved this phase of playing these women who are much less concerned with what people think about them, and simultaneously working on that myself in my life. It’s definitely been a nice symbiotic relationship."

Now in its third weekend, Lionsgate's Spiral: From the Book of Saw fell out of the top spot at the domestic box office and into third place with another $2.275 million. The soft reboot of the iconic torture porn franchise is expected to end Memorial Day $20.27 in North America. Another Disney offering, Raya and the Last Dragon, took the fifth slot with an extra $1.995 million and will most likely come away from the long weekend with $2.57 million for a domestic performance of $51.62 million.

The Devil Made Me Do It has opened in two markets abroad, generating a total of $3.9 million. It'll debut in 45 new countries (including the United States) this coming Friday, June 4. Universal's F9 continued to dominate the international box office in its second weekend abroad and is expected to zoom past $230 million in sales before it reaches North American shores late next month.

Other genre holdovers include: Sony's Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway ($36.8 million), Funimation's Demon Slayer: Mugen Train ($444 million), Warner Bros.' Godzilla vs. Kong ($435.1 million), Sony's The Unholy ($30+ million), and WB's Mortal Kombat ($81.1 million).