Sunday AM Update: Paramount’s A Quiet Place is headed past $50M, according to industry estimates this morning ($50.4M), after a Saturday of $19.2M, which is $200K higher than Friday’s take. Note Friday included $4.3M Thursday previews, so what this means is that A Quiet Place isn’t front-loaded like your standard horror movie, and that’s a fantastic sign for business. Paramount is calling the weekend at $50M, with another $21M from 40 overseas markets, for a $71M global debut.
The top 11 titles at the weekend box office according to studio-reported figures:
This is a truly great start for Paramount, with a film that is bound to be quite profitable off its net $17M cost before P&A. In fact, you have to go back to 2016 in regards to the last time when Paramount opened a film this high over three-days (Star Trek Beyond with $59.2M, but at a $185M price tag, it spilled red ink with a $343.5M global B.O.). Given both the commercial and critical success here with A Quiet Place, it blasts John Krasinski’s directing career off after indie turns with The Hollars and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and it continues to underscore Platinum Dunes’ dominance in the genre sphere after such hits as The Purge and Ouija series (which were made with Blumhouse).
“It transcended any genre. While it may have been perceived as a horror film, you can’t get to these numbers without it being about story,” said Kyle Davies, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution. “The movie became all things to all people; it connected with people’s primitive needs to protect family in a dangerous time.”
A $30M start would have been great for this movie and above its $20M tracking range, but the studio began noticing something wonderfully unusual during the beginning of the week: Advance ticket sales were doubling day to day. In the end, A Quiet Place itself became the best form of advertisement, as people left the theater raving about it. The pic played evenly to men and women, with a total overall positive score per PostTrak now at 81%. The 25-34 demo loved this movie, the most at 85%, along with those over 55 who gave it an 88% overall positive score. The pic played across the heartland, as well as Los Angeles and New York.
Paramount always had a feeling that this movie with its plot about family on a farm in crisis, who must live in silence from a surrounding threat, would play broad. Anecdotally, the audience at the SXSW premiere screamed after the pic’s cliffhanger final shot. While Paramount ran trailers last winter before Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (apparently theater patrons reported to the studio that people stopped eating popcorn during the pic’s riveting silent trailer), they also invested in getting a Super Bowl pre-show spot that cost less than the estimated $5M per 30-second TV spot out in front of eyeballs.
Paramount chose Ellen as an exclusive launch partner for their second trailer, with Krasinski appearing on the show in February to launch the trailer. That episode also re-aired two weeks prior to release. The studio then planted their flag with genre fans with a :60 spot during The Walking Dead premiere on Feb. 25.
But the tipping point for the campaign was when the studio and filmmakers decided to show an early cut of the movie to the SXSW festival committee and scored the opening night slot, where the film earned raves and held at an incredible 100% on Rotten Tomatoes until opening week. A Quiet Place also sponsored an activation with Twitter at SXSW in a themed space with the Monopoly board, lanterns, red lights, and sand paths from the movie, attended by Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, with Krasinski completing a Twitter Q&A. Additional digital surround at SXSW included branded Snapchat filters in and around Austin, and social assets that touted the fantastic reviews.
Leaning into the high concept of, “If they hear you, they hunt you,” Paramount created a custom-branded in-theater pre-show spot featuring noisy moviegoers who are attacked by the film’s mysterious creatures, admonishing audiences that “the movie theater should be A Quiet Place.” The spot ran in nearly 100 cinema chains around the world.
With a core audience under 35, the marketing campaign intentionally relied heavily on digital. Social creative that flipped the typical “Turn on your sound” message to be more in line with the movie’s high concept popped in an early awareness stunt. And once the stellar reviews dominated the conversation, the studio used several as the basis for a piece that reminded viewers that in A Quiet Place, it’s important to “STFU” in order to survive. Social audiences responded with massive shares and re-shares across all platforms. Paramount extended their outreach to younger audiences online via custom programs with WattPad, in which top horror writers from the platform came together to write stories inspired by the film and with CryptTV, where they produced and distributed original video content to thriller and horror fans.
To close the deal, word-of-mouth efforts included a surprise screening at WonderCon, as well as general audience, Hispanic, and African-American screenings with radio and broadcast promotions week-of- open that saw unprecedented turn-away rates. On Tuesday of opening week, Paramount hosted an Advance Open Caption Screening of the film in NY for members of the Deaf and hearing-impaired community.
It was also a great weekend for Warner Bros. and Universal as well. Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One from WB/Village Roadshow had a great hold, which bodes well for its legs, -40% in its second weekend with $25.1M in No. 2 after a Saturday that was +65% over Friday with $11.2M. Current running cume for this feature take on Ernest Cline’s YA novel: $96.9M. Global B.O. is at $391.3M.
Universal was able to ward off the curse for R-rated raunchy comedies with the Point Grey/Good Universe/DMG Entertainment/Hurwitz & Schlossberg-produced Blockers seeing a $21.4M opening in third after a $8.3M Saturday, +6% over Friday. Universal distribution boss Jim Orr gave props this morning to the studio’s marketing department, who has a great track record for opening R-rated comedies like Bridesmaids, Trainwreck, Neighbors and Girls Trip. While the one-sheets for this movie looked as blah as New Line’s for Game Night, the difference here was that Uni spurred a hot word-of-mouth out of SXSW with great reviews which distinguished this raunchy comedy as an American Pie from the parents’ POV. And that’s what set this raunch apart from the rest of the fray, plus it has a lot of heart. Forty-four percent were under 25, with females under 25 on PostTrak (22%) giving Blockers its best grade of 82% positive. Overall positive was 76%.
Further down at No. 7 is Entertainment Studios’ Chappaquiddick, which drew $6.2M at 1,560. Entertainment Studios boss Byron Allen is over the moon about the results, and says that the film will make money after its ancillary output deals off a $25M final domestic box office. Between acquisition cost and P&A, Entertainment Studios is in for $20M. Other film finance sources claim this morning they don’t know how it’s possible for Chappaquiddick to be profitable, and they’re guessing the pic won’t get much past $17M. The pic over-indexed in places like Boston and senior enclaves like Palm Beach and Fort Myers, Florida. CinemaScore showed 73% over 50, but they only gave it a B-. PostTrak reports females over 25 buying the most tickets at 44% but giving the movie a 72% overall positive, while men 25+ at 38% gave the Ted Kennedy movie an 80% positive. Entertainment Studios is increasing theater count on Friday.
Mirror/LD’s teen volleyball movie The Miracle Season didn’t spike business with $4.1M at 1,707 venues. There was an effort here to try and sell this as a sports movie, not just solely as a faith-based one, but it’s the latter who came out evident in the film’s A CinemaScore and demo turnout of flock of 74% females, 52% over 25. The movie about a girl’s high school volleyball team who must win a state championship after losing their star player was a true one discovered on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumble. LD producers spent years going to Iowa to get to know the real people and earn their trust. LD is also behind Roadside Attractions’ I Can Only Imagine, which stands at an amazing $69M stateside, the distributor’s highest-grossing movie ever.
Overall ticket sales according to ComScore are at $166M for the weekend, +38% over the same period a year ago. Through this Sunday, the year’s domestic box office counts $3.12 billion, just 2% behind the same Jan. 1 – April 8 span a year ago.
Chart coming up.
Saturday AM: Extended writethru of midday and late night update. Paramount’s horror-thriller A Quiet Place is shocking many inside and outside Paramount. While there was some fantastic buzz coming out of SXSW, with the film getting a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, no one anticipated a $46M debut of this size for this net-budgeted $17M title. Tracking had this genre title sitting in the low-to-mid $20Ms and just yesterday, many jumped their average forecasts to low $30Ms.
A Quiet Place‘s 3-day blows away the openings of Jordan Peele’s horror surprise Get Out ($33.3M), M. Night Shyamalan’s Split ($40M), and even the FSS portions of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One ($41.7M) and Paramount’s summer tentpole of Transformers: The Last Knight ($44.7M).
Indeed, a very long-awaited win for Paramount, which has been hit-starved following the Brad Grey-Rob Moore era (though previous highs have included Daddy’s Home 2 $104M domestic, The Last Knight‘s $130.1M domestic and $605.4M global, and 2016’s Oscar-winning Arrival at $100.5M).
Here’s what the top films are looking like per industry estimates this morning:
Close to 90% of all moviegoers bought their tickets on the day-of , rather than in advance, according to ComScore/ScreenEngine’s PostTrak. What that means is that word-of-mouth and social media buzz are through the roof. Updated exit polls show audiences giving the John Krasinski-Emily Blunt combo 4 out of 5 stars, with a 50/50 split between males and females attending. PostTrak stats also show men 25+ at 29% enjoying the film the most, with an 89% overall positive score. Definite recommend is a massive 63%. All are great signs that sync well with its 96% Rotten Tomatoes score. CinemaScore crowds are harder on horror movies, so A Quiet Place gets a B+, which is the same letter grade as It and Split, and near Get Out‘s A-. Those under 18 (14% per CinemaScore) and those under 25 (37%) gave A Quiet Place an A-. Krasinski (31%) and Blunt (21%) fans loved the movie as well with an A-. There’s too much momentum here with A Quiet Place for that grade to be any kind of hurdle at the B.O.
Coming out of SXSW, where the Krasinski pic was the opening night film, RelishMix reports that the social media universe for A Quiet Place across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter grew to 100M, with Twitter hashtags #AQuietPlace and @QuietPlaceMovie building a 11k per day and 40.3k over the last month, topping all openers (though behind #ReadyPlayerOne and @ReadyPlayerOne, which counted 23.2k hashtags/tags per day and 402k over the month).
Says RelishMix about the social chatter, “The film is even reaching fans who are not typical horror fans, much like last year’s It and Split were able to. Many social moviegoers have jumped to the comment threads to discuss Friday night plans and have expressed how intrigued they are with the cast. Touching on the originality of the plot, the birth scene in particular seems to be a source of much chatter, as fans are curious about how it will take place.”
Paramount wasted no time in getting this film into production, as it was announced just a little over a year ago. A Quiet Place scribes Bryan Woods and Scott Beck credit former Paramount motion picture group president Marc Evans for being an internal champion at greenlight, with the current Jim Gianopulos administration and marketing department ensuring this pic would open. Paramount knew A Quiet Place transcended horror, and so the marketing department made bold moves to show that this movie was for more than just the horror audience, and eventized it with a teaser trailer that ran before Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, followed by a spot during the Super Bowl pre-show. RelishMix reports that trailers and clips for A Quiet Place have been passed around at a viral rate of 21:1, which bests the speed of other horror trailers (which average 13:1).
Platinum Dunes’ Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller walked Bryan Woods and Scott Beck’s dialogue-less script into Paramount. Childhood friends, the duo drew their inspiration from the silence that surrounded them growing up on the Iowa plains. An intriguing part of the script: the sound effects ultimately proved to be a riveting supporting cast. Woods told us at SXSW: “Michael Bay called the head of the studio, saying ‘You have to make this movie! Why aren’t we making this movie?’” The duo were gobsmacked about how fast the greenlight process was, having had other projects languish over at other studios. Krasinski was already in business with Platinum Dunes, having starred in Bay’s 13 Hours and their upcoming Amazon Prime series Jack Ryan. The former The Office alum already had a few directing credits with some episodes on the NBC comedy series, plus two features that premiered at Sundance: 2009’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Man, and 2016’s The Hollars. Platinum approached Krasinski to direct (and he also co-wrote), but horror wasn’t his wheelhouse. That is, until he heard the pitch: “About a family who can’t make any noise and you have to figure out why,” Krasinski told us. Having just had their second child, Blunt was drawn to A Quiet Place as it dialed into her fears as a mother and protecting her children.
In addition to A Quiet Place, two other SXSW premieres this year rounded out a triple threat at the B.O.: Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Ready Player One currently holding well, (-44% for a $23.2M second weekend, and 12-day total by Sunday of $95.1M) and Universal’s R-rated teen comedy Blockers turning in a great $20M in 3rd. Through Thursday, the Steven Spielberg-directed take on Ernest Cline’s YA novel has grossed $300M WW, $143M of that coming from China. That’s the biggest haul ever for the studio in the Middle Kingdom. Close to 60% of the pic’s global ticket sales are being driven by 3D, with $47.2M made in RealD locations.
Universal’s Blockers is landing within the range ($18M-$22M) where tracking saw it. The fact that this movie is opening north of $20M reps a bit of a resuscitation for the R-rated raunchy comedy, which has largely failed to open (2016’s Bad Moms $23M and last year’s Girls Trip $31.2M being rare, recent notable starts). Blockers is a completely different spin on raunch, doting on the fears of parents with teenagers who are jonesing to make whoopie. Those red and green trailers captured and sold the spirit of the film, and were hands-down hysterical. The pic played the Saturday night spot at SXSW, and following that, grew a social media universe of 158M, which bests the average for an R-rated comedy (123M). Females under 25 are enjoying it the most at 82% overall positive on PostTrak. Females overall were the dominant demo at 57%, giving the pic an overall 77% positive. The under-25 crowd are grading the movie an 80% positive, but A Quiet Place is stealing that demo as well, 44% to Blockers’ 29%. On CinemaScore, the 18-24 set love this movie with an A-, but only 19% of them showed up.
Entertainment Studios’ Chappaquiddick is slightly above its $2M-$4M tracking with $5.6M, but that’s not a big enough start for this movie. The distributor shelled out $4M for this movie out of TIFF, plus an estimated $16M P&A commitment. For the most part, political movies about the controversies of former presidents or politicians are a hard sell and generally don’t make that much: read Nixon (total B.O. $13.6M) and W. ($25.5M total B.O.). RelishMix noticed the social chatter on this one was mixed, given how polarizing people’s views on Ted Kennedy are. Couple this with the fact that those under 40 probably don’t even know what Chappaquiddick is. If you’re a Kennedy lover, you’re apt to hate Ted even more after watching this movie, and some of his abuses of power may rank too close to home in this Trump era for those in Blue states. Friday’s ‘B’ CinemaScore indicates a big divide for this drama between moviegoers and critics, who gave the pic an 80% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (that score is only based off 57 reviews, not 132 like Blockers). Those over 50 were the biggest crowd here for Chappaquiddick at 73%, and they weren’t impressed by it with a B-. In the press, Entertainment Studios boss Byron Allen has spoken about the controversy surrounding this movie; how powerful people tried to squash its release. He responded by increasing the ad budget in an effort to open the pic and kept the pic’s content intact to reflect the truth. Entertainment Studios pulled ads from Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News Channel, and there was some backlash from the right over that on social. Tracking had Chappaquiddick at a low $2M-$4M level for the last four weeks.
Mirror/LD’s faith-based sports movie The Miracle Season off a 36% Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t wowing, with a $4.2M three-day after taking in $160K in Thursday previews. Again, Christian crowds are flocking to I Can Only Imagine, which will soon cross $70M. The Miracle Season received an A CinemaScore with the faith-based flock of older women turning out at 74% females, 52% over 25.
By Sunday, Fox Searchlight’s The Isle of Dogs in its third weekend will have a running total of $12M, which is running close to Wes Anderson’s highest-grossing movie The Grand Budapest Hotel through its third weekend ($12.99M in week three; that pic topped out at $59.3M).
In three runs between New York and L.A., Amazon’s Lynne Ramsay cop noir You Were Never Really Here has an estimated $49K theater average for a $148.3K opening weekend. The pic has a certified 88% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
1st Update, 7:38AM: Paramount’s near-silent horror film A Quiet Place grossed a great $4.3M on Thursday night at 2,740 locations.
The PG-13 title directed by and starring John Krasinski and wife Emily Blunt churned out a figure that blasts away its nearest comp, 10 Cloverfield Lane, which earned $1.8M on Thursday before a $8.9M Friday and a $24.7M opening. At this level, there’s a very good shot A Quiet Place will cross $30M for the weekend. A Quiet Place‘s Thursday night is also above Get Out‘s $1.8M. Back in August, Annabelle: Creation turned in a $4M Thursday night before a $15M Friday, $35M start. A Quiet Place, produced by Platinum Dunes, was made for a net $17M before P&A.
A Quiet Place bowed at the SXSW film festival last month, triggering an enormous response with a current certified fresh rating of 96%.
Universal’s R-rated teen comedy Blockers, another SXSW premiere, took in $1.5M last night, which is $500K more than Game Night, the year’s previous R-rated comedy and higher than the Melissa McCarthy 2016 comedy The Boss ($985K) and just under Trainwreck ($1.8m). Game Night took in $5.5M on its opening day and $17M while The Boss made $8M on its first Friday and $23.5M over the weekend. Like that Jason Bateman title, Blockers has an 82% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. While Game Night attracted men and women over 25 equally at 35%, there’s interest from the younger demos on Blockers.
Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Ready Player One won the week with $59.9M over seven days, a $71.9M running total. Forecasts for weekend two are in the low $20M range.
Entertainment Studios’ Chappaquiddick, about Ted Kennedy’s 1969 car accident which killed his presidential campaign strategist Mary Jo Kopechne, is playing at 1,560 locations. The pic made $175K at 1,146 from previews and hopes that its glowing 81% fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating will drive adult moviegoers. Chappaquiddick was originally scheduled to open during Thanksgiving, but Entertainment Studios opted to push their other TIFF acquisition Hostiles during awards season due to Christian Bale, and settled on opening this Jason Clarke-Kate Mara movie here.
Fox Searchlight’s Isle of Dogs is expanding from 165 to 547 sites. Amazon Studios has Lynn Ramsey’s Cannes Film Festival premiere from last year You Were Never Really Here at LA’s Hollywood Arclight and New York’s Lincoln Square and the Angelika. Next week the movie will expand to the top 12 markets. The trippy cop noir starring Joaquin Phoenix has a 86% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.