The box office of the prequel “A Quiet Place” speaks volumes

The box office of the prequel “A Quiet Place” speaks volumes
The box office of the prequel “A Quiet Place” speaks volumes

“A Quiet Place: Day One” is a box office smash. The prequel grossed an estimated $53 million in North American theaters during its first weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

It’s both a franchise bestseller and a much bigger-than-expected grosser. Before the weekend, Day One tracking had projected a $40 million debut, but audiences were clearly more excited by the Lupita Nyong’o-Joseph Quinn-starring action horror released by Paramount. The same can’t be said for Kevin Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1, which grossed $11 million.

Quiet Place’s victory, however, was not quite enough to secure the coveted number one spot on the charts. That honor once again went to Disney and Pixar’s hit Inside Out 2, which grossed an estimated $57.4 million in its third weekend in theaters and surpassed the $1 billion mark worldwide.

This is good news for cinemas in a summer season that is finally picking up speed but is still far behind last year’s (down 19 percent) and pre-pandemic norms (down 36 percent from 2019).

Inside Out 2 continues to be a box office hit the likes of which the industry hasn’t seen since Barbie nearly a year ago. In just three weeks of its release, the film has grossed nearly $470 million in North America and $545.5 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $1.01 billion. The sequel is the only 2024 film to cross the billion dollar mark, and it did so in just 19 days – a record for an animated film.

“The film’s overwhelming global success demonstrates once again that audiences around the world are responding to compelling, entertaining films and want to enjoy them on the big screen,” said Michael O’Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, in a statement.

Michael Sarnoski’s PG-13-rated “A Quiet Place: Day One” is also quickly approaching an important threshold. Including $45.5 million from international screenings in 59 markets, the $67 million production has already grossed $98.5 million.

“The ‘A Quiet Place’ franchise is very popular,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s head of domestic distribution. “We listened to the fans who wanted to expand the universe.”

A rare feat for a third film, it grossed more than “A Quiet Place” ($50.2 million when it premiered in April 2018) and “A Quiet Place: Part II” ($47.5 million when it premiered in May 2021). John Krasinski, who wrote and directed the first two films, continued to serve as a producer.

“It’s one of those rare horror franchises that has received incredible acclaim from audiences and critics alike,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Nearly 40 percent of the film’s revenue came from 3,708 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, playing on “premium theaters” such as IMAX and other large formats. The film opened to mostly positive reviews (84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes); audiences gave it a CinemaScore of B+ and four out of five stars on PostTrak.

“We’ve put together a compelling package, but I also think it shows that people want to go to the movies,” Aronson said. “The market really works when there’s choice and something for everyone.”

Horizon, on the other hand, had a slow start. Although the older audiences most likely to support a Western epic don’t usually flock to theaters the way people do for horror and superhero films, the road ahead is not going to be easy: Reviews were not particularly good and the film received a disappointing B CinemaScore.

The stakes are also a little different with “Horizon,” a $100 million production that Costner financed himself and partnered with Warner Bros. to distribute. The film opened in 3,334 locations. Costner’s decades-long passion project was financed with a mortgage on a property in Santa Barbara, Calif., and he dropped out of “Yellowstone” to see it through. With a bold, unconventional strategy, “Chapter 2” hits theaters later this summer, on August 16. He also has plans for two more films.