In the battle between SXSW world premieres, Paramount’s silent horror thriller A Quiet Place is set to open in the top spot with a mid-$20M start, a debut that’s in line with the studio’s 10 Cloverfield Lane ($24.7M) two years ago.

The film directed by and starring John Krasinski alongside wife Emily Blunt follows a family on a rural farm who are forced to live in a life of silence due to a looming vicious threat around them. Much like Ready Player OneA Quiet Place received an enthusiastic response in Austin, with the film currently boasting a 98% fresh score with critics. Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes produced the pic, which was made for a net cost of $17M. A Quiet Place will play in about 3,490 theaters, with previews starting at 7 PM Thursday. Interest and first choice skews to the younger under-25 quadrants, with young females outpacing young guys in first choice. No surprise there since A Quiet Place is rated PG-13.

A Quiet Place will edge out the second weekend of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which is expected to land in the low-$20M range in second place. Through yesterday, the movie has grossed $64.4M at the domestic B.O.

Universal

Universal also has one of its SXSW titles debuting this weekend. The Kay Cannon-directed R-rated comedy Blockers stars Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz as parents who launch a covert mission on prom night to stop their teenage kids from having sex. Boasting an 89% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, the pic is looking at a midteens or maybe $20M start at 3,300 venues. Interest from younger quadrants is up today, skewing to young females at 48% versus young males 44%. Previews are tomorrow at 7 PM. R-rated comedies are still a hard nut to crack at the box office. New Line’s Game Night opened to $17M, however, word of mouth has lifted it to a 3.8x multiple for a current running stateside tally of $65.3M. A $20M three-day would be impressive for Blockers.  

Entertainment Studios

The weekend’s other two wide entries aren’t so spectacular. Entertainment Studios’ Ted Kennedy drama Chappaquiddick is expected to fizzle with $2M-$4M, per tracking. The current theater count is around 1,550, with a Thursday night preview debut. Older-male awareness hit 60% today. The one bright spot for this movie is that it has a 78% fresh score on Rotten Tomaotes, which could provoke adults to attend. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios originally shelled out $4M for the pic about the scandalous 1969 car accident out of the Toronto International Film Festival with a promise of a $16M marketing campaign. The pic originally was scheduled to open over the Thanksgiving stretch but Entertainment Studios moved it to this month, choosing instead to campaign Christian Bale for best actor with Hostiles ($29.8M) last year, another title the distributor bought from TIFF.

The Miracle Season from Mirror/LD is at the bottom of tracking with $3M, playing at 1,700 theaters. The pic by Soul Surfer helmer Sean McNamara follows an Iowa City high school volleyball team after the death of their team captain. Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Erin Moriarty and Danika Yarosh star.